Tips To Eating Healthy While Dining Out

You know nutrition becomes even more important as you age, and your diet plays a big part in your overall health and well-being. When you cook at home, it’s easier to take control over your diet by choosing quality ingredients and fresh vegetables and fruits. When you know exactly what goes into your meal, you don’t have to worry about hidden preservatives, saturated fats or excessive salt.

Some days, you’ll want to eat out while still eating healthy, and this will require a bit of planning and knowledge. On those days when you want to dine out, you’ll want to know what kinds of foods to avoid and what foods to choose to help you stay on track. Dining out is wonderful, and we all need to take a break from our kitchens and enjoy delicious food made by someone else. More and more restaurants now offer healthy items that accommodate nutritious diets, making it easier than ever to dine out healthy.

Here are tips to help you eat healthy when you eat dinner out, and help you to maintain optimum nutrition both inside and outside of your home. After all, we want you to enjoy your meal and your company, so cheers to your good health choices! As always, before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle, consult your physician, first.

Choose Your Restaurant Carefully
Before you visit a new restaurant, check out their menu online, stop by or even call and ask about their selections. You’ll want to choose a restaurant that has a diverse menu with a wide variety of offerings, rather than a select few. Look for restaurants that offer salad options, homemade soups, local produce and made-fresh products.

Order With Balance In Mind
You only live once, so dining out may mean that you treat yourself. You can manage to indulge while still making nutritious choices when you strive for balance on your plate. If you must order the steak, order a green salad on the side, or if you have a special craving for a heavy pasta, choose leafy vegetables or steamed broccoli to help you get the fiber and vitamins you need.

Portion Size
When you eat out, it’s important to watch portion sizes, since the average American restaurant tends to serve meals that are well-beyond the recommended daily intake. To control your portions, you can ask for a second plate and place half of your meal onto it after your food arrives. Ask the server to box up that second half for you to take home for lunch or dinner. If you’re dining with a friend, consider splitting a meal and save on calories and dollars. 

Substitutions, Dressings and Sauces
When possible, attempt to substitute greasy, salty or heavy sides with a salad, steamed vegetables or fruit. Pay attention to salad dressings, opting for low fat or simple oil and vinegar rather than full fat or heavy dressings. There can often be hidden calories inside of heavy cream or cheese sauces, and you often need less of these on your meal than may be customary. You can ask to have your dressings and sauces placed on the side of your meal so that you can control exactly how much makes it onto your plate, and reduce your intake substantially.

Take Your Time
Eat slowly and pay attention to each bite you take. Part of the reason many people overeat is that they rush through meals and end up eating more than their bodies actually need. Take your time, enjoy your meal and choose to save room for later so that you leave feeling as light as you did coming in.