How To Make Healthy Choices When Eating Out
Between busy schedules and socializing with family and friends, cooking isn't always an option. However, studies have shown that restaurant dishes are linked to increased fat, sodium, cholesterol, saturated fat and caloric consumption. Although restaurant meals are typically less healthy than home-cooked meals, that doesn't mean you need to stay home.
Are you looking for ways to eat out without breaking your diet? Here are five tips for enjoying healthier restaurant meals:
- Pay attention to keywords on the menu
When it comes to choosing a meal, a simple way to make better choices is to know what words to look for. Certain words signify a healthy dish, while other keywords can tell you which plates to avoid. Meals that are roasted, grilled, broiled or baked tend to be foods that were prepared in the healthiest way possible. On the other hand, words like crunchy, crispy, loaded, stuffed and glazed can suggest that the dish is less healthy — either deep fried, high in calories or high in sugar.
- Look at the menu before you arrive
The key to healthy eating is to plan ahead. Researching a restaurant and what dishes they offer can save the temptation of ordering something unhealthy. By deciding what to eat before you arrive, sticking with a nutritious low-calorie meal will be a breeze.
- Stick to water and drink it throughout your meal
Ordering a soda or fancy cocktail can be tempting. However, swapping your drink out for water is an easy way to make your meal healthier. Soda and most alcoholic beverages are loaded with added sugar, and consuming too much sugar can increase your chances of developing a heart disease. Stick to water and your body will thank you. In addition, drinking water throughout your meal helps you eat slower – meaning you'll consume less food.
- Always start with a salad
Researchers found that people who ate a large salad before their main course ate about 100 fewer calories than those who didn't eat a salad. Next time you're eating out, opt for a low-calorie salad before your meal. Remember to avoid creamy dressings and heartier toppings, such as bacon or anything fried.
- Don't leave portion control to chance
When it comes to portion control, it's easy to be your own worst enemy. Instead of relying on your own self-control, try boxing up half of your meal right when it arrives. This will prevent you from overeating and inviting unwanted stomachaches.