Monday, August 17, 2020

10 Tips for Eating Out AND Reaching Your Goals!

Restaurants are notorious for making seemingly healthy options extremely high calorie bombs. For example, Applebee’s Grilled Chicken Salad has 1,060 calories and 63 grams of fat and 30 grams of sugar (ah!). Shocking right? “Grilled Chicken” and “Salad” seem like the healthy options. So here are some tricks to help you navigate take-out and dine in meals and still feel great and crush your health goals! 

  1. Plan ahead. Many restaurants...especially chains…have their nutrition info posted on their website. Visit their www before venturing out to make sure that you order something that fits into a healthy diet! Better yet, look up your favorite and most frequented restaurants and have healthy options ready even if you’re making an unexpected stop to eat out.
  2. Avoid dishes with the following words: cream sauce, butter, oil, fried, au gratin, breaded, battered, Alfredo and smothered. All of these words mean the dishes are most likely extremely high in fat and calories.
  3. Watching your carbs? No problem. Order lean meat with veggies on the side and ask for an extra serving of vegetables to replace the carb-y side (i.e. bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.) 
  4. Watch the toppings. When ordering a salad, really read the what’s actually in the salad. Veggies and lettuce are great, but candied nuts, cheese, creamy dressing, and dried fruit make for a very very unhealthy salad. 
  5. Ditch the buffets. Buffets are just a recipe for disaster…just avoid altogether for calorie/fat safety. BUT if you have to be at one, have one plate of food with at least 1/2 of the plate piled with veggies.
  6. Eat your meat! Just make sure that your meat is prepared in the following ways: steamed, poached, roasted, broiled, grilled, baked or boiled. Fried, breaded, deep fried etc are never ever healthy. Poultry and fish are great choices but if you are a red meat lover, no worries, just choose a lean cut of meat such as eye of round roast, top round steak, bottom round roast, mock tender steak or top sirloin.
  7. Send the bread back. Who really needs the extra bread at the table. Most likely, you’ll just fill up on it and then try to stuff down your meal…ask the wait staff to not bring the bread or send it back if it’s already on the table. In this same vein, when chips are served, don't get it refilled. Enjoy the first basket and be done. 
  8. Ask for the to-go box first…not last. Box up at least half of your meal right when it comes out and then eat your plate clean without guilt. If you are doing take out, box it up at home before you dive in. Better some $$ and split and entree!
  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. If a dish comes with fried chicken, ask for it to be grilled. If something is smothered in cheese, ask for the cooks to “hold the cheese, please,” if something comes with fries, ask for steamed veggies instead. Most restaurants are very willing to help people eat healthier.
  10. Check out the healthy section of the menu. Many restaurants have recognized the need for a lightened up part of the menu to make it easier to choose wisely. So if you have that option, just flip right to it and don’t even tempt yourself with the less healthy options.
Happy dining!

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