Many people love to eat out, however the great food that is served in restaurants is frequently loaded with increased calories and fat content which leads to weight gain. However, it truly is possible to eat healthy in restaurants and even order off the menu if you simply know what to ask for. Additionally, most restaurants and wait staff are accustomed to dieters and healthy eaters so they do not mind making adjustments in the way certain menu items are cooked in order to please you.
Many restaurant menus have a variety of healthy and low calorie options already. Despite this, there are some sure fire ways to cut the calories yet still enjoy eating out. The following tips will guide you to cutting the fat while eating some of your favorite foods.
Tip #1 – Ask for baked, not fried
Many menu items are served fried because fried foods are very tasty and many diners enjoy this dish. However, fried foods have increased fat and calorie content which makes healthy eating almost impossible. So, if there is a menu item you are particularly interested in and it is fried simply request it be baked or grilled with no oil. Even grilled meats are often times grilled with a lot of oil, making it just as bad as fried. But, if you ask for no oil you will receive a tasty and healthy entrée.
Tip #2 – Order Anything, Eat Half
If you are a restaurant eater and you simply love particular entrees and cannot be pleased by eating them in a healthier way then you still have an option. In these circumstances, order the menu item that you are craving but only eat half. While this can be a difficult feat especially if you really like a particular food, there is a way to ensure you don’t eat more than planned. When you order your food, simply ask the waitress to place half of it in a “to go” box before bringing it out to you. Then, you can eat half of your favorite food and not totally overdo it on the calories and fat, yet still feed your craving.
Tip #3 – Eat a Salad First
Most people go to a restaurant and order their favorite menu item and then inhale the entire platter in minutes. Since so many platters are high in fat and calories this is bad news for the waistline. However, if you order a salad first then you will fill up a bit on salad and still meet part of your daily vegetable requirement. Then, when your favorite meal arrives you will already have curbed your hunger with your salad and not overeat on the fattening dish.
Tip #4 – Salad Dressing and Butter on the Side
Many entrees are served with a salad with real salad dressing and a potato slathered in butter. You can still order an entrée with these side items and they are even recommended, but you must take into account the condiments you are eating with them. For example, the salad is very healthy and should always be eaten before the meal. However, many salad dressings are incredibly high in fat. As a result, ask for a low calorie or low fat version of the salad dressing. If this is not available then ask for the salad dressing on the side and then you can monitor how much you eat. The same goes with butter. Frequently potatoes are served with tons of butter dripping from the potato. While this is certainly tasty, you can receive basically the same taste by requesting the butter on the side and then adding only a small amount to cut calories and fat intake.
Tip #5 – Ask About the Ingredients
Many times individuals go out to eat and order anything they want without considering the amount of fat or calories involved. In fact, many don’t even know what the ingredients are in the entrée in order to make an informed decision of whether or not the entrée is healthy or not. In these situations you should ask the waiter what ingredients are used in the recipe. If there is a lot of cheese, oil, fried foods, cream, or other fattening ingredients then you will know to choose a lighter dish or ask for the dish you want just a lighter version.
Tip #6 – Share Dessert
Granted, dessert is not exactly healthy, but when you are eating out there is something special about ordering dessert and many people do so. However, you can eat dessert and still keep it relatively healthy. The way to do this is to share the dessert amongst the entire table, but no more than 4 people. Everyone will get a good taste of the dessert and enjoy it, yet nobody will take in too many calories because they will be sharing it and unable to eat the entire dish.
There are many ways to eat healthy in restaurants, these are just a few tips to help you along the way and allow you to eat some of your favorite restaurant dishes yet still maintain a healthy diet and cut back on calories and fat.