The following post is a guest post by Chris Huston. For more from Chris, check out her blog Burnt Macaroni.
Eating out is certainly a privilege for many people – for others it’s an everyday appointment. If you know the hostess by name or have restaurants on your speed dial, you may need some advice on making healthy decisions while eating out or ordering in.
Eating out doesn’t have to be unhealthy
My friend and Lifestyle expert, Larry North always says it’s important to make “better bad choices” when you are eating out or in a jam. Even though restaurants are making an effort to provide healthier options, knowing what to order can still be tricky. Rather than ordering the greasy hamburger with bacon, maybe select a grilled chicken sandwich with veggies and no bread instead. Regardless of what you order, it’s important to know that restaurants will likely be adding tons of butter, cheese and other diet no-no’s just to make the food taste better. Being informed about how to make healthier choices while eating out will make ordering easier. With that being said, it’s time to get specific about “how” to order food.
5 Tips to Make Healthier Choices
- 1. Never be afraid to ask what a menu item is made with. If you are ordering a meat or fish dinner, check and see how it is being prepared. Most good servers will know if the chef is sautéing it in butter or olive oil.
- 2. Ask if you can make substitutions. If the hamburger comes with Cheddar cheese, ask if you can have Mozzarella or another lighter cheese option instead. It will cut your calories in half. Also ask for a side salad instead of fries or chips. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
- 3. Be specific about what you want. If you want a grilled chicken breast, dry with no butter or seasonings, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you prefer grilled vegetables seasoned in salt and pepper, that is how you should have them.
- 4. Check the calorie count. Many restaurants are now posting the calories of each meal on their menus. This is a great way to keep track of what you are taking in. If you don’t see it listed, ask for a calorie count or if the restaurant has “lighter” menu options.
- 5. Order sauces and dressings on the side. Way too often, restaurants will over-do it with the salad dressing or the gravy on your meal. An easy solution is to ask for those on the side so you are in control of how much you eat.
It’s also important to avoid the temptations. If you know you can’t resist the French Fries covered in melted cheese appetizer at your go-to restaurant, it may be a good idea to try some place new. The bottom line is that restaurants want to make you happy, so you keep coming back. Remember to never be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. Your body will thank you!
Have you mastered the art of reading a menu and making informed, healthy choices? Leave us a comment and share your secrets!