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Eating Healthy When Dining Out

When we eat out at restaurants, the food that is served is very high in saturated fats and sodium. With the huge portion sizes becoming the norm, you also end up eating a lot of unwanted calories. And if it is a regular affair and you don’t follow the principle of eating healthy when dining out, you are likely going to be a candidate for heart disease and obesity. Many of us would say that it is almost impossible to be eating healthy when dining out, but this isn’t so.

It is up to you to exercise the self control when you are dining out by making healthy eating choices. And believe me, all restaurants cater to the diet conscious patrons, you only need to ask. The thumb rule for eating healthy while dining out is to avoid deep fried foods, refined starchy foods and sugary foods like sodas. Here are some more detailed tips to avoid those unhealthy trans-fats, processed sugars, refined oils and starches present in restaurant food.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #1: Avoid starchy carbohydrates

When eating out at restaurants take a careful look at the menu and opt for dishes made with whole grain. Dishes with brown rice, whole wheat bread or whole grain pasta are much healthier that white rice or white bread. Food items made with refined flour have hardly any nutritional value apart from needlessly increasing the calories. Instead of fries with your sandwich or burger, ask for baked potatoes on the side.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #2: Select more vegetable dishes

Rather than opting for meat based items on the menu, try out the vegetable platter. You might be surprised at the variety of vegetable dishes that are available and find them to be extremely delicious. If you order pizza, ask for one with vegetable toppings like onion, tomato, mushroom and bell peppers rather than cheese or meat.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #3: Choose low saturated fat cooking methods

The way the food in is cooked in restaurants makes it too rich for those looking to eat healthy. Choose meats that have been steamed, broiled or roasted or those cooked in their own juices. Grilled chicken is a better option for your sandwich than fried chicken. Select sautéed or stir fried vegetables.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #4: Avoid heavy sauces and cream based gravies

Request for rich sauces, salad dressings and gravies to be served on the side so that you have a control over how much of saturated fats and cholesterol you consume. Order salads with a light dressing, like a vinaigrette and go easy on the cheese toppings.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #5: Portion sizes

You may have portion control plates and scoopers at home, but when you dine out, you have to deal with “super size” servings which pack a huge quantity of food. So share your meal with a companion, or better still, order appetizer-size portions or side dishes that are usually a smaller portion size.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #6: Go easy on the soda

Go for iced tea or plain mineral water or water with lemon when you order a beverage. Tea with skim milk or coffee are other options. Avoid sodas or sweetened juices as these are only empty calories with little nutritional content.

Eating Healthy When Dining Out Tip #7: Choose a healthy desert

If you must have desert, choose fresh fruit salad or sorbet or low-fat ice-cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. Ideally, it would be best to skip desert at the restaurant and have a small piece of low fat chocolate at home.

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