Make Healthy Choices While Dining Out

Hotel restaurant table

Many fitness gurus will tell you that eating out is a diet killer. Just don’t do it. I say, if you want to have a social life at all, eating out cannot always be avoided. There will be times that eating out is an opportunity and other times it will be a necessity. While eating at home is the best way to control your intake of calories, fat, and sugar, there are always healthier options at restaurants. Here are my 5 tips:

1) Order water to drink. Not only are soft drinks loaded with empty calories/sugar, the markup on these drinks is absolutely ridiculous! Do your waistline and your pocketbook a favor. Just have water.

2) Choose grilled or charbroiled meats. Avoid anything that says “crispy” or “fried.” If you see something you really want, but it comes with fried chicken/crispy chicken, ask if you can get it with grilled chicken instead. Chances are, they’ll do it for you. If not, choose something else.

3) Look for healthy side options. Many times the menu has side dishes listed with the entree (ex. fried catfish filet with french fries and cole slaw) Ask to substitute a healthier option, like steamed vegetables or a side salad.

4) Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side. This gives you control over how much to use. It’s okay to indulge a little, but sauces and dressings are typically calorie laden and full of sugar. When you dip your salad in dressing or dip your meat in a sauce, you will most likely eat quite a bit less of the sauce/dressing that you would have if it came already drizzled over your plate.

5) Skip the appetizer. Skip the cocktails. Skip dessert. Nuff said.

You don’t have to decline invitations to go out to dinner just because you are trying to eat healthier. There are ways to keep doing good for yourself and enjoy the company of your friends and family in a restaurant. Our culture revolves around food too much to just say “I’m not eating out.” Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a restaurant meal and stay in your skinny jeans.

**Bonus tip: If there seems to be absolutely no entree that suits your healthy standard, order a broth-based soup.

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