Being social in our society often means eating out. Restaurants have begun to hear our cries for healthier options giving us healthy options from which to choose. Some restaurants have gone so far as to list calories and other nutritional information on the menu. But what about the times when we are faced with a menu full of temptation and are left on our own to determine what “healthy” is?
Here are some quick tips for dining out:
Skip the cheese: A majority of sandwiches come with some sort of cheese. Ask for your sandwich without cheese. Chances are the sandwich itself has so much other flavor going on, you won’t even notice the missing cheese!
Order your burger but ask for veggies: I believe in never denying yourself anything. I choose not to make eating cheeseburgers every day a habit but on the rare day when I just want a burger, I eat it. Instead of the French fries or chips, I ask for a double serving of the steamed vegetables.
Healthify your pizza: Craving pizza? When you are ordering, ask for half the cheese and meat. Request double the vegetables and you’ve got a healthier version of pizza!
Order sides instead of an entrée: It may take some thinking outside of the box but most restaurants can charge you for individual sides instead of entrées. Instead of ordering something off the menu, consider ordering just the chicken from an entrée and a side of vegetables.
Use fruit instead of salad dressing: I know what you’re thinking, it sounds crazy. But it works. Order the salad with fruit and skip the dressing. The juices from the fruit itself provide enough juiciness to appropriately dress the salad. By skipping the dressing, you are not only avoiding all the unnecessary calories but you are also allowing all the tastes from the salad itself to come through. If you need a little extra, ask for a side of lemon and squeeze a small amount of lemon juice on your salad.
Skip the appetizers: Appetizers always sound good and are often tempting but we rarely ever “need” them. In fact, often times, our entrées are large enough to be two meals themselves so skip the appetizers and save room for your meal.
Have it your own way: Many restaurants are becoming used to accommodating special requests because of the increasing allergies and dietary needs we have. Don’t be afraid to be that person who asks for your meal your way. In fact, be appreciative that you can order to your liking and give an extra thanks to the server for accommodating your requests.
Share an entrée or box it up: We often eat what we see. When ordering, split a meal with a friend. Or, ask your server to either box up half the entrée or bring a to-go box with the meal. When you have only half the entrée on your plate, you’ll surprisingly feel full and still get to be a member of the clean-plate club!
Eating out doesn’t have to sabotage our healthy living. In fact, eating out can be a normal part of healthy living. We shouldn’t feel like we have to avoid restaurants in order to be healthy. We just have to be prepared, think ahead and be true to our healthiness.