Who doesn’t love a fun dinner out during the winter? As fun and enjoyable it can be, eating out can come with a side of bloat, overeating, sleepiness, and not feeling well physically. Luckily, there are ways we can avoid these not-so-fun feelings with healthier choices at a restaurant or takeout place. Check out the tips below for enjoying and eating well when you eat away from home!
Tip 1: Watch for key words
Many of the descriptions of our meals have hints about how healthy it may be and can be found on the online menu. Words like “crispy, crunchy, fried or smothered” are hints the meal has extra fat and may be caked with highly processed carbohydrates. Words like “grilled, steamed, blackened or roasted” mean the food was prepared using less fat and can be healthier options.
Tip 2: Split the meal
Before you start gobbling up your meal, pack up half of the meal for the next day. Restaurant portions can be very large and we often eat too much at a time. Since you are at home, grabbing a storage container and putting it out-of-sight upon the food’s arrival helps you manage how much you eat. Saving some of your meal for later also means you get to enjoy the food a second time-hooray for (planned) leftovers!
Tip 3: Pick your splurges
If you are dying to have the greasy burger with all the toppings, go for it. Pick the sides and drinks (like steamed vegetables, fruit cups, and sparkling water) to help balance your meal. You can also skip the appetizer, dessert or sides all together so you can focus on and enjoy what you really want. And make sure you eat slowly and mindfully to enjoy each bite!
Tip 4: Ask to customize
Unless otherwise specified, most restaurants are able to make easy substitutions in their dishes. Healthy substitutions could be about swapping a side, preparing the protein differently, or leaving off an ingredient. This can also help reduce food waste if there are elements of the meal you won’t eat. You will never know if you never ask!
Tip 5: Order a kids’ meal
Ever notice that kids’ meals come with a healthy side and a drink? Kids’ meals can be a great way to control portions and get a more balanced meal. It is your call to take or leave the toy if one is offered.
Happy eating out!