February 7, 2024

Your Guide to Healthy Restaurant Eating

healthy restaurant eating

Are you tired of feeling guilty after indulging at your favorite go-to restaurant? Do you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle even when dining out? You’re in luck! This easy-to-follow guide to healthy restaurant eating will help you make smarter choices without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment.


  1. Research Your Options

Before heading to a restaurant, do a little research. Look up the restaurant’s menu online and see if they offer healthy options. Many restaurants now provide nutritional information, so take advantage of it. Look for dishes that are lower in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Certain food tracking apps also include have restaurant nutritional info data.


  1. Control Portion Sizes

Restaurants often serve larger portions than you need. To avoid overeating, consider sharing an entree with a friend or ordering an appetizer as your main course. You can also ask for a to-go box right away and put half of your meal aside for later.


  1. Start with a Salad

Begin your meal with a salad or a bowl of broth-based soup. This will help fill you up with fewer calories and provide essential nutrients. Just be mindful of high-calorie dressings and creamy soups, and opt for vinaigrettes or clear soups whenever possible.


  1. Choose Grilled or Steamed Options

When it comes to the main course, opt for grilled, baked, or steamed dishes instead of fried ones. Grilled chicken, fish, or lean cuts of meat are great choices. Avoid dishes that are described as “crispy,” “fried,” or “battered.”


  1. Watch Your Sides

Side dishes can be sneaky sources of extra calories. Opt for steamed vegetables, a side salad, or brown rice instead of french fries or creamy mashed potatoes. If you can’t resist the fries, share them with your dining companions.


  1. Be Mindful of Beverages

Stay away from sugary sodas and calorie-laden cocktails. Opt for water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime. Even the calories from milk can sneak up on you. This simple switch can save you hundreds of empty calories.


  1. Customize Your Order

Don’t hesitate to customize your meal to meet your dietary preferences. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side, or request substitutions like whole wheat bread instead of white. Most restaurants are accommodating to special requests. An easy tip is asking for your burger “protein style”. This replaces the buns on your burger with a lettuce wrap, decreasing the amount of carbs in your meal.


  1. Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly and savor each bite. Stop when you’re satisfied, not when your plate is empty. This will help prevent overeating and leave you feeling more satisfied.


  1. Dessert in Moderation

If you have a sweet tooth, it’s okay to enjoy dessert occasionally. Consider sharing a dessert with others at the table or ordering a smaller portion. Fresh fruit or a scoop of sorbet can be lighter, satisfying options.


  1. Most Importantly, Stay Active!

After your meal, take a leisurely walk or engage in some light physical activity. This can help digest your food and prevent that post-meal sluggish feeling.


By following these simple tips, you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while still enjoying dining out. Remember that balance is key, and occasional indulgences are perfectly fine. So, the next time you visit your favorite restaurant, use this guide to make choices that align with your health goals. Your body will thank you, and you’ll still get to savor the delicious flavors of restaurant dining.


For more great nutritional information and support, make sure to click here!


In addition to being a Registered Nurse, Katie Peeples is an accomplished certified nutritionist and the Lifestyle Wellness Coach for Mind Body Centers.

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