Personally, I kind of dislike going out to eat because I know that any food I cook at home will be a million times healthier and tastier than something I order out at a restaurant. It's disgusting how unhealthy they prepare meals and I can't stand not knowing what they are doing to my food and having to worry if the kitchen is clean or if they are using quality produce and products. Remember, FOOD IS FUEL and NOURISHMENT to your body!
But the reality is, most people eat out at least once a week. Sadly, during one evening at a restaurant you may very well consume an entire day (or twos) worth of the recommended calorie, fat, and notably sodium intake in just a single sitting. It's okay to have the occasional indulgence but it's important to establish and stick to specific goals you have set for yourself.
It can be very overwhelming and complicated to choose the cleanest, healthiest option when dining out. So, let me help you subtract the stress and share with you some of my helpful tips for eating clean while eating out!
Clean Eating & Eating Out
1) RESEARCH THE RESTAURANT
Know before you go! Go online and look at the restaurants menu and nutritional information. Now a days, most large restaurant chains have the nutritional data posted on their website. From there, you will be able to choose what meal meets your dietary requirements and know exactly what to order ahead of time.
2) DITCH THE DRINKS
Order H2O. Why guzzle down hundreds of empty calories on cocktails and soda? These drinks are loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners and will do nothing but pack on the pounds. Also, you'll be saving yourself a pretty penny when you bypass the brewskies.
3) STOP WITH THE STARTERS
Most eateries supply you with endless baskets of bread and biscuits, which we all know do nothing but add bulge to your belly. Do yourself and your waistline a favor and avoid the appetizers which typically have more fat and calories than an entree and generally have no nutritional value. Start with a small salad, hold the croutons, and have the dressing delivered on the side.
4) PRACTICE PORTION CONTROL
Portion sizes at restaurants have seriously sky rocketed. Most meals are enough to feed an entire family! Ask for your dinner to be cut in half and doggie bag it. By taking a to-go box home not only are you cutting calories, you're saving time and money you would have spent on another meal.
5) MAKE YOUR MEAL
I suggest keeping it simple. Grilled, baked, or steamed is the way to go. Opt for chicken or fresh fish! Read the entree description, if it has gravy, sauces or dressing, ask for it on the side or not at all. One of the biggest problems I have with restaurants is the excessive amount of sodium they use. It's absolutely ridiculous how they incorporate salt into literally every dish. For example, the pecan crusted salad at Applebee's sounds harmless enough, but it's loaded with 1,360 calories, 80 g of fat, 17 g of saturated fat and 2,640 mg of sodium. Seriously!? That's more than a days worth of sodium in just one salad. Always ask for no (or light) salt, it's just not necessary! Also, be sure to ask for no butter or "dry".
6) SUPER SIDES
We all know that fried foods are completely unhealthy, so forfeit the french fries and make way for a small baked potato or even better, a sweet potato! If your dish comes with rice, substitute white for brown. And of course, don't be shy about ordering a large helping of delicious and nutritious steamed vegetables
7) SKIP THE SWEETS
You're sweet enough already :) But seriously, just say no those extra calories, fat, and sugar. It may taste good for the moment, but it will be over in a matter of minutes and you'll regret it later. Consider having fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth without setting yourself back.
8) ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
Don't be afraid to ask the waiter questions, remember, this is YOUR BODY, in order for it to function at it's peak you need to provide it with the proper fuel. Most waiters are understanding, but if you should get one that gives you a hard time for any reason, don't be afraid to explain to him/her your situation. You may even influence them to make better choices the next time they dine out!
Hopefully this post has provided you with some helpful tips and thoughts to consider when ordering your meals the next time you dine out. Please know that it is OK to indulge every once in a while for special celebrations and occasions and you should not feel guilty doing so. But, keep in mind your true desires and know that you need commitment and consitency to achieve your goals!
*Additional Fit Tips*
- Add fresh lemon or lime to your water, on your salad, or on fish for added flavor and to promote proper digestion.
- Start your meal with a small salad packed with veggies to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
- Ask for salad dressing to be served on the side so you can add only as much as you need.
- Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies.
- Add little or no salt & butter to your food.
- Keep it simple.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT