Don’t let enjoying a restaurant meal ruin your healthy lifestyle. Read on to know how to stay on track even when eating out.
Restaurant meals always prove to be a difficult obstacle to overcome when attempting to eat healthy. The menu and food are designed in a way that allures our senses and heightens our cravings. As such, it can be very easy to give in to these temptations. At a restaurant, it seemingly feels like taking a step backwards as there’s no way of knowing exactly how many calories are going into the meal. Moreover, it becomes hard to avoid unhealthy ingredients such as salt, butter, unsaturated fats and the like. Eating at a restaurant shouldn't be an excuse to go off track and eat unhealthy and realistically, it is not possible to skip eating out altogether. Hence, it is important to look out for healthier alternatives and draw a balance when eating out. Here are six ways you can choose a healthy meal when going out to eat.
1. Check the menu online and pre-plan your meal to avoid temptation
The majority, if not all, restaurants now have digital menus, especially post Covid-19. This helps when trying to figure out where you want to eat and get a peek into what kind of food they offer beforehand. In trying to pick the right restaurant, glancing over the menu will help you select one that has some healthy options so that you are not left feeling like there’s no alternative when you get there. It will also help you avoid enticing menus. Once you gloss over the menu, pre-plan what kind of meal you want to have to avoid giving into temptations.
2. Include healthy options in your meal
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It is always best to focus on what healthy options you can add to your meal instead of what foods to avoid. Opt for plant-based foods and high quality fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. Make sure to add lots of vegetables, perhaps double or triple the serving. For added fibre, ask for extra veggie toppings. As for sides, order leafy green salads or cooked vegetables. A great way to make your meal nutritious is to substitute your fries with vegetables such as zucchini or sweet potato. Also, portion control is important if you do want to indulge and have few fries.
3. Don't be afraid to ask
An important step in eating healthy is being informed about what is going on your plate. To do so in a restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask your server about how the food is being prepared. You can usually ask for items to be prepared with less oil or butter, replace the bread basket with a healthier alternative and even order off the menu according to your preference. Mostly, restaurants are happy to comply.
4. Watch out for key healthy wordings
To understand how a dish is prepared, look for keywords in how the dish is described on the menu. You want to pick a dish that has the words "grilled," "broiled", “baked”, “roasted” or "steamed," implying the food is cooked in less oil and salt. Avoid words such as “fried”, “crispy”, “breaded”, “creamy”, “alfredo” etc.
5. Skip the fancy cocktails
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If you must order alcoholic drinks, avoid sugary ones such as margaritas and pina coladas. They add tons of extra calories and are overtly unhealthy cocktails. Instead opt for a glass of wine or liquid on the rocks.
6. Circadian Fast
Sticking to your schedule is important on any day, but when you eat out and your routine goes for a toss, it's crucial. Schedule meals out at a normal time, during the daylight hours and skip late night meals and drinking. If you indulge a bit, try doing a few extra hours of fasting the next day.
While it seems like a daunting task, eating healthy when going out is actually pretty simple if you have some of these tricks up your sleeve. With a little planning and determination, you can choose to have a fun meal at a restaurant without negating your nutrition intake and health.
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