From a juicy cheeseburger to crispy onion rings, the overwhelming temptation of restaurant menus can challenge willpower to stay on track. And “Is there ANYTHING healthy I can order when dining out?” becomes a very real thought.
Luckily, there’s plenty! Besides, sustainable dieting should include meals outside of a regimented eating pattern - such is life (that should be enjoyed)!
Put your stress to rest and find out not only what to order, but how to order when dining out.
General Health Tips When Dining Out
With so many restaurant and fast food choices available, it’s important to know universal health tips so you can order confidently at them all. When dining outside of your bistroMD plan, consider the following general rules to stay on track while still enjoying life beyond rigid dieting.
1. Forego that all-or-nothing mentality.
Eating out should be enjoyable, but it doesn’t signal the green light to overindulge. Instead of dining out with that “all-or-nothing” mentality, plan to enjoy the outing mindfully.
2. Plan ahead of time.
Most restaurants have websites or mobile apps with their menu easily accessible. View options and plan your meal ahead of time, as doing so can lessen the temptation of ordering a large amount of “unhealthy” food.
3. Use the healthy plating method.
When deciding what to order, keep the healthy plating method in mind. Overall a meal plate should be balanced with non-starchy veggies, a lean protein, and a whole grain or starch. The plate may also be complemented with healthy fat from olive oil, avocado, or fatty fish.
4. Consider how foods are cooked.
Avoid or limit fried and creamed foods and choose those that have been baked, steamed, poached, or broiled instead.
5. Practice portion control when indulging in your favorite food or treat.
For instance, instead of avoiding or overdoing your favorite pizza, relish on a single slice or two and pair with a side salad dressed with a light vinaigrette. If truly wanting fried chicken, balance a piece of fried chicken with the remaining grilled.
6. Try to stick to water to avoid unwanted, empty calories.
And not to mention, water is the number one beverage recommendation for proper hydration and tends to be free of charge!
7. Half large meals and entrees.
Split meals with someone else at the table or take the rest home. Enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day or give to another household member.
8. Do not overextend your visit with the dessert menu.
While sweet treats can be enjoyed every now and again, continuously selecting a high-calorie dessert may start impeding on health goals.
9. Enjoy your wining and dining experience!
Going out with close friends and family is an intimate time to catch up and relish in their presence.
10. Ask for dressings and sauces as the side.
These sort of add-ons can increase calories quickly and asking for these on the side gives you the power to control how much you use.
11. Ask for recommendations and advice from the staff.
Know you are likely not the only one inquiring about healthy options and staff should be happy to help you out!