Going to a restaurant with friends or family can help you reconnect and socialize. But making healthy choices in restaurants is not always easy, however, it’s not impossible! Many people avoid eating out when trying to lose weight, but now it is time we debunk the myth!
You can achieve your fitness goals while savoring a delicious meal with friends or family at a restaurant. All you need to do is to Choose Right and Eat Right! You should start by choosing the relatively healthier dishes and being extra careful with the size of the portions. Follow these simple tricks to make good choices while dining out in a restaurant without sabotaging your health goals.
1. Read The Menu Before Going
If you do not already know the restaurant where you are going or the type of dishes it offers, you should check the menu on the internet before going there. The risks of making bad choices instead of eating healthy are much greater if you are hungry or distracted. Seeing or feeling the smell of food can also make it difficult for you to stick to your plan for healthy eating, especially if you are hungry. Deciding on the dish to order before arriving at the restaurant avoids making impulsive decisions that we may regret later.
2. Eat a Healthy Snack Before You Go
If you arrive at the restaurant hungry, you risk eating too much. You can avoid this by having a healthy snack before leaving home. A low-calorie snack such as yogurt, for example, can help you feel less hungry and prevent you from binge eating.
3. Drink Water Before and During the Meal
Drinking water before and during the meal is a very good idea, especially if you use water to replace a sweet or alcoholic drink. Replacing sugary drinks with water allows you to reduce the number of calories and the number of additive sugars you consume.
4. Place an Order Before the Rest of the Table
Other people and their choices can influence our decisions, without even realizing it. If you’re dining out with a group that does not tend to eat healthy at the restaurant and make choices that do not suit your eating habits, be sure to order before them.
5. Ask for a Healthier Exchange
When you order your dish, ask the waiter to exchange the side dish, especially if it is fries or potatoes, vegetables, or salad. You will eat more vegetables and control calories. Vegetables as a side dish can be a good choice because it is a convenient way to eat healthy in the restaurant. For example, broccoli and spinach are very low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, and other healthy natural compounds.
6. Order a Soup or Salad to Start
Having a bowl of soup or salad before starting your main course restricts you from overeating. Having soup prior to a meal can bring down your calorie consumption by 20%, which is not negligible. It is advisable to choose broths over creamy soups.
7. Avoid Sugary Drinks
There is already enough sugar in our diet, and that can be bad for our health. One of the sources of sugar that you really do not need is sugary drinks like sodas. Drinking sugary drinks is associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. If you intend to drink healthy at the restaurant, you will have to stick with water, tea, or fresh fruit juice (unsweetened, of course).
8. Choose Sauces Made From Tomatoes and Not Cream
Use tomato or vegetable sauces instead of cream or cheese to reduce the calories and fat of your meal. This will also allow you to add vegetables to your diet.
9. Share Your Dish or Order a Half Portion
Sharing food or ordering half a portion is an easy and convenient way to reduce calories and not overeat. If you do not have anyone to share with, you can ask the waiter to pack half of the dish home to eat at a later meal.
10. Chew Slowly and Conscientiously
Chewing your food conscientiously and eating slowly may allow you to eat less. It also allows you to feel satiated faster. When eating, try to choose a minimum of time that you must chew each bite before swallowing and respect this number to avoid eating too fast. You can also put your cutlery down between two bites to force you to slow down and leave enough time for your satiety hormones to send you signals.
Even though you will find fairly caloric but nutritionally poor dishes in most restaurants, some may offer a selection of healthier dishes than others. Japanese and Thai restaurants often offer a wide range of low-calorie foods. If you choose to eat at an Italian restaurant, watch out for cheese and ask for sauces separately, so you can control the number of calories consumed.