Eating Out? 5 Smart Choice for Your Health
Eating out at restaurants is a delightful experience, offering a break from the kitchen and a chance to savor a wide array of flavors. However, dining out can often be a minefield of calorie-laden dishes and unhealthy choices. If you’re striving to maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying restaurant meals, here are the top 5 healthier choices to make when perusing the menu.
1. Start with soup or Salad
One of the best ways to kick off your restaurant meal on a healthy note is to begin with a bowl of soup or a fresh salad. Opt for clear broth-based soups or salads with plenty of colorful, non-starchy vegetables. These options can help control your appetite, ensuring you don’t overindulge in the main course. Just be cautious with salad dressings and consider asking for them on the side to control portion sizes.
2. Choose lean Protein
When selecting your main course, focus on dishes that feature lean sources of protein. Grilled chicken, turkey, fish, or tofu are excellent options that provide essential nutrients without excessive saturated fats. Avoid dishes that are breaded, fried, or smothered in heavy sauces. Instead, look for terms like “grilled,” “steamed,” or “baked” on the menu.
3. Embrace Whole Grains
Opt for whole grains whenever possible. Many restaurants now offer whole grain alternatives like brown rice, quinoa, or whole wheat pasta. These options provide more fiber and nutrients than their refined counterparts, helping you stay full and satisfied while promoting better digestion.
4. Load up on Veggies
Vegetables are a cornerstone of a healthy diet, and you can incorporate them into your restaurant meal in various ways. Look for dishes that feature a colorful array of vegetables, and consider ordering extra veggies as a side. Steamed, roasted, or stir-fried veggies add both flavor and nutrition to your meal.
5. Mindful Portions
Portion sizes at restaurants can be significantly larger than what’s recommended for a single meal. To avoid overeating, consider sharing an entrée with a dining companion or asking for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives. Portion control is key to maintaining a balanced diet when dining out.
Bonus Tip: Beverages Matter Too
Don’t forget to pay attention to what you drink. Water is the best choice, but if you prefer something more flavorful, opt for unsweetened iced tea, herbal tea, or sparkling water with a splash of citrus. Avoid sugary sodas and calorie-laden cocktails, as they can easily add empty calories to your meal.
In conclusion, dining out doesn’t have to derail your efforts to eat healthily. By making mindful choices like starting with soup or salad, choosing lean proteins and whole grains, loading up on veggies, and being conscious of portion sizes, you can enjoy restaurant meals while still prioritizing your health. These choices not only contribute to a more balanced diet but also help you savor the diverse and delicious offerings of the dining world with confidence in your healthy choices.