The new year brings a lot of resolutions and for most, getting healthy is typically at the top of the list. Even though the beginning of a year has quickly slipped out of your fingers you still have plenty of year left to meet any of you healthy living new years resolutions. We know you’re a busy individual and you enjoy dinner out. The problem is finding healthy alternatives or making healthy choices when you’re faced with so many delicious meal options. Here are some great suggestions for learning to eat healthy when dining out.
Choose Simply Prepared Meals
One thing that is often difficult to determine is the amount of calories that go into secret sauces, especially when the sauce involves butter, oil and/or sugar. You can eliminate these unwanted, uncountable calories by choosing plain versions. Stick to a protein that is either grilled, steamed, broiled or poached. Choose poultry that is skinless and preferably white meat. A grilled chicken breast makes a perfect choice. If you would like, you can ask for a side of sauce, such as BBQ, for dipping. Dipping actually uses less calories, as you are only putting a little bit on each bite, as opposed to coating the entire serving.
Swap Out Starchy Vegetables
Choosing different vegetables, as the ones most often offered, can help reduce the amount of calories you consume. Skip the French fries and/or baked potato smothered in bacon, cheese and sour cream. Instead, choose a steamed vegetable, such as broccoli and eat your baked potato plain. You also need to be careful when choosing your salad. While greens loaded with crumbled bacon, croutons, cheddar cheese, heavy cream-based dressings, and other fixings is quite delicious, they also pack a punch when it comes to calories. Stick to a dark green, such as spinach, pile on fresh mushrooms, hardboiled egg (for a little extra protein) and a lite vinaigrette, which should be ordered on the side!
Be Slightly Picky
Some menu items you just can’t resist, however you can alter the way they are prepared and dressed to make them fit within your budget – calorie budget, that is. When ordering a sandwich, such as a burger, ask your server to make sure the burger bun isn’t buttered. You would be unpleasantly surprised to know how many restaurants serve burgers this way, adding calories you are completely unaware of. Also, ask your server to put condiments, such as mayo, ketchup, special sauce, on the side, so that you can control just how much is going on your burger, or any dish that has condiments or dressings.
Keep It Light
Many restaurants offer ½ size meal portions. While you may feel like that’s not going to give you enough, it is likely that you may still end up with leftovers. In fact, what many restaurants consider whole-size portions are actually more than 1 ½ servings, giving you way too much to eat. Choosing the half-size portion brings you much closer to a true “serving-size”.
Many restaurants typically provide some type of pre-dinner snack, or appetizer, such as tortilla chips and salsa and fresh baked bread or biscuits. To avoid being tempted by these delectable appetizers, let your server know ahead of time that you don’t want them. Next, choose your drink wisely – as in choose water. Drinking calories by having soda or an alcoholic beverage is something many do without realizing it. Besides, water can help fill you up, so you avoid over-eating, it offers zero calories and it’s usually free. Lastly, skip dessert. Restaurant desserts have more calories than a similar dessert made from home, especially if you use artificial sweeteners or cut back in some other manner. If you really must have dessert, share one with your dinner companion, or choose a lighter version, such as fresh fruit with whipped cream. You can also have a drink for dessert, such as a latte made with skim milk or a gourmet, flavored tea.
As you can see, sticking to a new year’s resolution, or trying to restart one, can be quite simple, even when eating out. Just remember to opt for plain versions of lean proteins, avoid starchy vegetables, eliminate sauces, choose half-size entrees, drink water and skip dessert – or at least choose a low-calorie option!