This guest post by Kathy is her tips for dining out.
Dining out when trying to eat healthier can be a bit of a challenge but it doesn’t need to be. With a few simple tips it is quite easy. One of the positives about eating in restaurants is the variety that comes with the menu. Many foods can be adjusted to meet your needs. I have found many restaurants are happy to accommodate their customers. FIrst of all, you want to look for foods that are grilled or baked and not fried. Fried foods have way too much fat. Choosing chicken or fish is a better option but if you are looking for red meat, try a lean cut of beef. That has less fat.
When choosing your sides, remember your vegetables. It is difficult at times to get all of your vegetables in so this is a great time. A side salad is a great option but ask for the dressing on the side and dip your bite of salad in the dressing. Skipping the croutons is a good idea unless the croutons are made with whole grain bread. If a potato is what you would like, try a baked potato. I have learned to eat it with just a little pepper but if you need something on it try a little bit of butter or sour cream but just a small amount and choose one or the other. Always ask for the toppings on the side. A better choice could be a fat free salad dressing but, once again, use it sparingly. I also like salsa on my potato. Many restaurants now offer sweet potatoes. They are loaded with nutrients and have such a great flavor. I usually ask for a little bit of cinnamon on mine but plain is excellent too.
When it comes to the bread basket, leave it alone. My husband is a big bread eater so we usually have it on the table at a restaurant but I usually don’t eat it. If it isn’t a big deal for your family or friends at the table, ask the server not to serve it at all. That way there is no temptation. You can also ask for your salad at the time they bring the bread, that way you are eating something while others have the bread. If you really need the bread with your meal ask for whole grain bread and try to cut your serving in half.
Many restaurants serve a large portion as a meal. If it is part of your food groups, eat until you are comfortable and not full. Asking for a to go container with your meal is a good idea. Think about the amount of food that you should eat and put the rest in the container. Out of sight out of mind. It is easier to eat more when you are socializing and not paying attention to what you are eating.
If you have plans to eat later than usual, make sure that you have a snack before you go. A container of yogurt or some fruit can help fight off hunger before you enjoy your dinner. Having something to drink, water, coffee or tea can also help.
When it comes to desserts, avoiding them is the best way. First of all, most desserts are made with lots of sugar, something that is best to avoid. If you would check the nutrition facts on some of our favorite desserts, you would be amazed at the fat and calories that are in them. Some have 2000 calories in a serving. Although I don’t count calories, I have to be realistic. If I go jogging and burn 400 calories in 45 minutes and I eat a dessert with 2000 calories, I would have to jog nearly 4 hours just to burn that amount. You will consume that dessert in about 10 minutes. It really isn’t worth it. If you are like me, sugar triggers cravings and that is something I would rather do without. Some restaurants offer desserts with fruit or sorbet. They are actually rather tasty.
With a little planning and a little strategy, you can eat out and be very comfortable. Most importantly, enjoy your meal!
This is good information to keep in mind. Kathy has been posting with us for a month. Did you miss any of her previous posts?
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Do you have any questions for Kathy? Send them here.