Dining Out Like a Nutritionist Would!
Plenty of people around the world love having the opportunity to eat dinner outside of their homes, whether it’s due to a romantic date or a celebratory meal with coworkers. With that being said, just because you’re at a restaurant doesn’t mean that you can’t stay focused on your weight loss or healthy weight gain efforts, all you have to do is make a few important dinner choices.
In the majority of circumstances, restaurants offer an assortment of healthier alternatives on their menu and they are equally as delicious as the less healthy options. Below are some important tips and tricks to think of when it comes to dining out like a nutritionist.
Tip 1: Think About Portion Size
No matter if you’re eating healthy or unhealthy, the size of your portion is going to greatly determine the amount of calories you’re consuming. Even if you’re eating a salad, a larger portion could easily have up to 700 calories in it, which isn’t going to help your diet.
The best thing to do while dining out is to ask a restaurant if they offer half or lunch-sized portions to help keep you within your desired calorie count. If not, there’s no reason as to why you can’t ask for a to-go box and package up half of your meal so you can bring it home with you to enjoy the following day.
Another great alternative to eating a giant portion is to share food amongst the other people that are dining out with you. This will allow you to try other healthier items on the menu meanwhile keeping your personal portion size within an agreeable limit.
Tip 2: Ask Questions About Preparation
In the majority of cases, restaurant menus will give you an insight into how a meal is prepared. For example, “Deep Fried Chicken” is obviously going to be packed with unhealthy fats and cholesterol, whereas “Grilled Chicken” may not be. If the menu doesn’t offer any explanation, don’t be afraid to ask your server how the food is prepared as you’re going to want to make sure your portion will have as little fat as possible.
It’s also important for you to pay special attention to any sauces, gravies, and dressings. Ideally, any type of butter or gravy should be on the side as this helps you to control how much you’ll consume. You’ll also want to choose reduced-fat dressings, as there are a ton of hidden calories that could negatively affect the healthy benefits of your vegetable-based meal.
Tip 3: Adding Vegetables and Grains
Depending on the type of establishment you’re dining out at, the majority of restaurants are pretty flexible when it comes to their patrons ordering meals. This gives you a lot of wiggle room in terms of substitutions and creating your own healthy alternative to the unhealthy base meal. For example, if you’re ordering baked chicken and it comes with a side of fries, consider substituting the fries for steamed vegetables. This also applies to fast food restaurants, as you can typically ask for a side salad instead of fries.
Above all else, adding extra vegetables and whole grains is incredibly important when it comes to ordering a pizza and this is something that many people forget. The more cheese and meat that is on each slice will lead you to ingest higher calories. Instead of choosing pepperoni, sausages, and bacon, why not opt for peppers, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes?
Tip 4: Trying Vegetarian Dishes
Although not every restaurant is going to have a vegetarian menu, there are plenty of establishments that do, especially if you’re heading out to an ethnic restaurant for dinner. Thai, Japanese, and Indian restaurants and renowned for their phenomenal vegetarian choices and at times, even carnivorous eaters will choose the vegetarian dishes over the meaty ones. If there’s one thing that can be said about opting for more plant-based dishes, it’s that you certainly won’t be limited to one or two meals, as you can choose from an assortment of things.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget About Drinks
Now that you have a clear understanding of how you can avoid eating more calories than you should when you choose to dine out, it’s also important to think about the drinks you’re going to be enjoying. It can be tempting to fall straight into a pitcher of beer or a tall glass of soda, but it’s certainly not going to do your body any good. In fact, the majority of beverages can carry far more calories than you could ever imagine.
The best option that you can choose is to get water instead of any type of soda or alcoholic drink because not only is it free, but it also hydrates you and helps you to digest your food. If you’re not the type of person who is interested in water, you can also opt for low-calorie drinks such as unsweetened teas or sparkling water with natural fruit flavors.
Above all else, watch out for alcohol as some mixed drinks, such as margaritas, can have more calories than your entire meal.
Tip 6: Choose the Right Dessert
Ideally, you should opt out of dessert entirely but when you’ve finished your main course and all of your friends, coworkers, or family members are ordering sundaes, cookies, and cakes, it can be tempting. Luckily, there are ways that you can enjoy a sweet treat without going overboard and losing all of the progress you’ve made during your main course.
Fruit salads and fruit bowls are a phenomenal alternative to traditional desserts because they’re not only sweet, but also a healthier choice. Consider finishing your dessert off with an earl grey or green tea, as this will help your body to sufficiently digest your food and add a warming note to the end of a great meal.
Is it Possible to Dine Out and Be Healthy?
By taking the time to make the right choices, there’s no reason as to why you shouldn’t be able to head to your favorite restaurant and still be able to eat healthily. Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to stop having fun entirely, all you have to do is just be smart about it!