As the weather begins to get warmer, everyone is coming out of hibernation. You might find that you are making plans with family and friends that you haven’t seen in a while. In many cases, this often means going out to dinner to catch up. While this can be a lot of fun, it can also put a strain on your diet. It’s easy to overindulge when you go out to eat, whether this means drinking alcohol or ordering fatty foods. It can be much more difficult to know how much fat, sodium, and sugar you are consuming when someone else is preparing the food. It is also tempting to treat yourself to a nice meal, but when you’re eating out frequently, these treats can add up! But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t go out to eat and enjoy yourself. Here, you can find a few tips for eating out in a healthy way.
If a friend calls you up and asks you to go to dinner, pick a restaurant that you know will have healthier options. Most restaurants have healthy options on their menus nowadays, but some places do this better than others. Pick a place that will give you the options that you need to stay on track.
Another good way to make sure that you don’t overindulge is by eating a large lunch or a small meal before going to the restaurant. This will ensure that you don’t show up to dinner starving. When you are really hungry, you tend to make rash decisions about what you want to eat. You go for whatever looks good, instead of the best option for you. If you aren’t that hungry, you can focus on getting a small, healthy meal.
Alternatively, you might choose to cut your calories during the day or week that you are going out to dinner. This will give you a little more wiggle room if you choose to indulge in a piece of dessert or an extra glass of wine.
Beware Seemingly Healthy Options
Many people choose to get salads or similar meals when eating out in the hopes of choosing a healthy option. Some options, such as salad, might seem healthy, but in reality they can be just as fatty as the more obvious unhealthy options. If you choose to order a salad, make sure that you get a lean protein with it such as chicken instead of bacon or other fatty meats. Also choose your salad dressing carefully. Salad dressing can have a lot of fat in it. Usually, vinaigrettes are better options than mayonnaise based dressings. You can also ask for the dressing on the side to make sure that you control how much of it you are eating.
If you want to splurge and get something a little on the unhealthy side, you can make up for it by substituting out your sides. Instead of rice, pasta, or potatoes, ask for a side salad or an extra serving of vegetables. This can give you a little treat without going overboard.
Be Aware of Portions
Restaurants usually serve huge portions to their customers. You don’t have to eat the whole meal in one sitting! Eat slowly to understand when your body is getting full. When you feel full, ask to take the rest home. Or, when you order your meal, ask the waitress to put half in a to-go box for you. This will make sure that you don’t eat too much at once.
These are a few ways to make dining out more manageable if you are trying to stay fit and watch your weight. A few alterations to your eating out plan can make a big difference in the long run. For more information about meal planning, contact us at 203-225-0772.