Note from Maria: We’ve already talked about how restaurants are engineered to make you overeat. The environment, the portions, the smells, your friends, everything in a restaurant urges you to indulge in eating…a little more. Now that you are conscious of how you are “nudged” to act in a restaurant, let’s have Rebecca Wallace from LiveWell Market tell us what and how to order to eat healthier and avoid extra calories when eating out. This way you won’t have to go on a diet later to compensate for the big meals you had at the restaurant;)
9 tips to avoid calories when eating out.
You don’t have to completely nix eating out when you’re on a personal diet. The key to eating out while dieting is preparation. The principle is similar to the reasons that you don’t grocery shop while hungry. Make wise meal decisions before you are in the restaurant and the smell of delicious food weakens your resolve.
[Note from Maria: each tip will save you at least 200 calories from your meal. not bad, huh?]
1. Start off with a salad to help curb hunger.
When it comes to caloric intake, the main course will be king. Eating a salad with light dressing a no croutons will reduce the immediacy of your hunger and allow for more conscientious food choices when it comes to high calorie courses.
2. When getting something with dressing, sauce, or gravy ask for it to be served on the side.
Speaking of salads. Anytime dressing, sauce, or gravy is presented make sure that you get it on the side. Some of the healthiest decisions can be thwarted by too much high fat, sugar, and sodium sauce. Control the amount that you need by getting it on the side.
3. When it comes to drinks, water is always best, and cheapest.
Nothing will get you in trouble faster than a sugary soda or juice. Water aids the digestive process, has no extra calories, and is a much healthier option than any other drink choice, and as an added bonus, it’s free!
4. Choose whole wheat breads.
When the question of, “White or Wheat” is posed, always choose whole wheat breads. Bread in moderation is not in itself a diet killer, but white bread offers little nutritional benefit and it certainly doesn’t help your quest for a smaller waistline.
5. Try to be conservative with butter on foods.
Everything may taste better with butter, but the less the better. No reason to lessen your resolve over a condiment, right?
6. Entrees can be large. Here’s how to avoid temptation.
This is step that will take the most planning. Most main dishes will have more food than you need. Preemptively avoid calories when eating out by doing one or some of the following.
- Order an appetizer or side dish as your main meal.
- Share an entree with a friend.
- Take leftovers home.
- Set aside or pack half of your dish immediately upon being served.
7. Aim for dishes that include vegetables.
This is often the best way to ensure that you don’t overeat. By choosing vegetables instead of high fat alternatives, you will fill yourself on foods that will aid, as opposed to detract from your goals.
8. Order steamed, grilled, or broiled instead fried or sautéed dishes.
Word choice is everything especially when looking at a menu. How something is cooked has just as much, if not more, importance towards maintaining your health choices.
9. Skip dessert.
The final test. If you have eaten proper portions you are no longer hungry. You have done so well thus far, no reason to blow it now.
[Note from Maria: The waiter will strategically ask you if you want dessert. It’s in his/hers and the restaurant’s best interest that you eat more, so that they make more money. Say no to the “dessert menu” and you will leave the restaurant with less calories under your “belly” ;)]
Making healthier diet choices don’t mean that you have eliminate dining out! It just means that you have to make conscientious choices before you actually go out.
About the author: LiveWell Market provides quality products that focus on the well-being of their customers, encouraging them to be healthy and live life to the fullest.
Photo attribution: emilio labrador