Many experts believe that restaurant meals are contributing to our expanding waistlines. Years ago, dining out was for special occasions. It was considered an expensive luxury that was enjoyed infrequently.
Now that we are frequenting restaurants more often, the question becomes-
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How to Eat Out Healthy?
These days, more and more Americans are dining out on a regular basis. In fact, the average American consumes 24% of meals away from home, according to the National Restaurant Association. This not only makes a dent in our wallets, but it also adds excess pounds on our bodies.
Restaurants are notorious for serving super-large portions (to give customers “value”) and high-calorie meals (to satisfy customers’ “taste”). Because of this, some research has indicated that eating out frequently may contribute to weight gain!
The good news is you don’t have to give up restaurant meals if you want to lose weight. You can eat healthy. Just avoid these restaurant landmines:
Healthier Eating Tips
Foods to Avoid
Fried foods: Whether it’s fried chicken, French fries or onion rings, deep fried food is loaded with calories and fat. Many things that sound healthy – like fried zucchini – are actually very high in calories.
Avoid fried foods whenever possible, or split a single portion with a friend.
Cheese: Cheese is another high-calorie addition to restaurant meals. Watch out for anything loaded with cheese, such as nachos or chef salads.
If you must have cheese with your meal, ask for it on the side if possible. That way you can control the portion of cheese on your meal.
Beverages: Soda is loaded with sugar, and alcoholic beverages are full of calories. Even fruit juices are full of extra sugar. These hidden landmines can add hundreds of calories to your meal!
Condiments: Mayonnaise may seem innocent, but it’s packed with fat. Sour cream and butter are also loaded with calories. Even the bacon bits on your salad will boost the total calorie count of your meal.
Healthy Food Choices
So what should you eat? Look for healthier choices, like:
Robust preparation techniques: Instead of choosing the fried entrée, opt for something that’s been broiled, steamed, baked, grilled or boiled. These tend to be the healthiest cooking methods.
Smarter condiments: Opt for mustard instead of mayonnaise. Choose an oil and vinegar salad dressing instead of a high-fat bleu cheese. Skip the bacon bits and opt for healthy sunflower seeds on your salad instead.
Low-calorie beverages: Water is your best choice, but diet sodas are sugar-free, too. Unsweetened ice tea is another good option. I’m a big fan of La Croix water.
If you’re going to drink some alcohol, stick with light beer or wine, which tend to have fewer calories than mixed drinks.
Choices When Eating Out
Enjoying your food should be part of your restaurant experience, so don’t order anything you dislike just because it’s “healthier.”
However, if you’re trying to lose weight, it doesn’t hurt to be cognizant of some of the hidden fat traps and calorie landmines that lurk on restaurant menus.
Treat yourself occasionally, but try to balance it with a few healthy choices, too.