These days you’d be hard pressed to find someone who cooks all of their meals at home every day of the week. More and more people are going out to eat more often.
People eat out for different reasons but a few major ones are it’s usually faster, they don’t feel like cooking, or they like the taste of foods they can get in a restaurant more than meals they can make themselves.
Even if you start out the day with an iron will, planning out your meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, sometimes things come up that don’t allow you to eat a healthier, home-cooked meal.
Sometimes business lunches or dinners pop up unexpectedly, or you just have to dine out often for work-related outings. Other times, going out with friends or family for a bacon cheeseburger and fries sounds much tastier than a cup of steamed vegetables and baked chicken.
If you go out to a restaurant to eat, you probably watch your calories very closely. Whatever the reason, dining out doesn’t have to equal unhealthy eating.
With obesity rates and cases of diabetes and heart disease quickly on the rise, it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle, and that includes maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
More and more restaurants are offering healthier options on their menus, so eating healthy in a sea of fried foods and sugary desserts is becoming easier and just as tasty.
When sitting down to eat, order a water. Drink a big glass before you even start the meal or appetizer. Not only is water important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it will also fill you up so you eat less.
Avoid scarfing down rolls or bread sticks that might be brought to the table. They are loaded with carbohydrates and take away from calories you can eat for the main course.
Order a salad if an appetizer is complimentary. Ask for dressing on the side, because the dressing can add many calories and grams of fat to an otherwise healthy option. Use only a small portion of the dressing to give the salad more taste.
When ordering, the important thing to remember is portion control. Sticking to proteins over dishes loaded with carbohydrates will fill you up faster without as many calories.
If you are opting for a steak, order a 6-ounce sirloin instead of a huge New York strip steak.
Spring for vegetables over potato dishes, as most are changed into options like fries or baked potatoes loaded with butter and sour cream. Study the menu before making any decisions.
Look to see if the restaurant has healthy options listed and order from there. Finally, if friends are constantly asking you to go out to eat and pressuring you to eat foods that aren’t on your list of healthy choices, talk to them about it.
Remind them that you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle and that requires a change in how you live. It isn’t always easy to tell people “no thank you” when asked to go to dinner, but sometimes it’s necessary.
You can also make healthy meals at home and invite friends over to eat with you. That way, you are sticking to your plans of eating healthy and showing your friends that it can be just as fun and tasty as going out for dinner.
Whether you go out to eat 7 days a week, or just every now and then, it’s quite easy to make healthy choices while dining out. It’s OK to splurge in the food department every now and then while dining out, but sticking as close to healthy food options as possible will only benefit you in the long run.
Always remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you truly love. All types of foods can fit into a well-balanced diet.