21 TOP TIPS FOR EATING HEALTHY AT RESTAURANTS
Eating out has many benefits. It’s so much fun to go out and visit with friends and family. And it’s very convenient when you’re on the go and don’t have time to cook, or just don’t feel like cooking. But it’s not always easy to eat healthy in restaurants.
Did you know that the average meal in a restaurant contains 1,205 calories? And that doesn’t even include bread, appetizers, drinks, or desserts! Let’s just say that things can get out of control very quickly. Been there. ✋ As fun and convenient as restaurants are, they can be terrible for our waistlines.
But since we’re all going to continue to eat out from time to time, we need to start making better choices. So use these top 21 tips on how to eat healthy at restaurants to start making good choices that help you keep those calories down. Just following one or two of these tips when you’re out and about can save you hundreds of calories!
1. ALWAYS ASK FOR WATER OR TEA WITHOUT SUGAR
Most drinks like soft drinks, sweet tea, and alcoholic beverages contain more than 200 calories. And that’s per cup. I’ve worked as a server at various restaurants over the years, I’d say 95% of people don’t stick with just one. So what about those diet sodas you may ask? I heard it has no calories, so it’s healthier…
No! Studies show that drinking just one diet soda a day nearly triples a person’s risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, among many other terrible problems. But what about losing weight, right? I’m not going to talk much about diet sodas, but if you want to learn more about how they really make you gain weight take a look at this article.
Just go for water or unsweetened tea to make sure you stay low in calories and put some good stuff in your body that will really help you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight. You can add a slice of lemon, lime, orange or bring your own stevia to spice it up a bit.
2. KEEPING THE BUTTER AND OIL
Butter and oil are not very good for the body and add a lot of unnecessary calories to our food. So be sure to ask the server to have the cooks keep the butter and oil on your vegetables. While olive oil is good for you and can help you maintain a healthy weight and even lose weight, most restaurants use canola or vegetable oil, so it’s healthier to pass on those.
3. BE CAREFUL WITH THE DRESSING ROOMS
Most salad dressings contain around 75 calories per tablespoon. I remember when I cared less about calories and staying healthy… I would drench my salad with ranch dressing. So there’s no point in eating a salad when you’re trying to be healthy if you mess it up with your dressing choices.
Ask for a low calorie dressing option and ask your server to put it on the side so you can use it sparingly.
*TIP: Also be careful with all seasonings and use them sparingly.
4. AVOID BREAD AND BUTTER
Who doesn’t love bread and butter? Texas Roadhouse has the best in my opinion. But we must address this beautiful entree… which is also FREE! Ugh… they make it so tempting, but we must be strong. Tell the greeter or server to go breadless from the start.
Avoiding temptations early helps a lot. One roll contains about 120 calories, and there are about 125 calories in just 1.5 tablespoons of butter. Knowledge is power. Remember this when you go out next time!
5. PLAN IN ADVANCE WHAT YOU WANT TO ORDER
When you arrive at the restaurant, tell the receptionist that you don’t need a menu. This is a great way to eat healthy at restaurants, helping you not be tempted by the other options on offer. Know what you are going to order and decide what you are going to get no matter what. We have to be assertive with ourselves.
We can’t leave room for maybe, that’s a great way for our plans to fall apart at the slightest whiff of cheeseburgers and pasta.
6. BUFFET STEP
The temptation to overeat at a buffet will be extreme. If you have other options, take them. And if you have to go for any reason, limit yourself to one plate. Choose steamed, grilled or grilled dishes with a minimum of sauces.
7. PLAN TO TAKE HOME LEFTOVERS
Portion sizes are insane at some restaurants. Did you know that Americans eat 20-25% more than they did in the 1970s? Look at this photo of a beach about 50 years ago. Not a single person was overweight.
So plan to take leftovers home for lunch tomorrow to avoid overeating tonight. I’ve heard this saying before and it was perfect. “Your mom told you to eat everything on your plate so that you would be big and strong. Now look at you, just big.” It’s funny, but true. We have to get this idea out of our heads that we have to finish all our food.
8. PACK IT FIRST
Another way to avoid overeating is to ask the server to pack up half of your food before it reaches your table.