If you are currently training for an athletic competition, working on losing weight or getting in better shape, or simply encouraging yourself to lead a healthier lifestyle, then you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible for you to dine out and still stay on the right track.
Eating healthy is not limited to buying fresh ingredients in the supermarket and preparing your own meals at home. With due diligence, you can still achieve your health and fitness goals while enjoying delicious dishes in your favorite restaurants.
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- Here are seven tips for practicing healthy eating when dining out. (And we’re not about to tell you to order nothing but the salad!)
Here are seven tips for practicing healthy eating when dining out. (And we’re not about to tell you to order nothing but the salad!)
1. Choose the kind of restaurant wisely
An excellent rule to follow when dining out is to opt for dishes made up mostly of protein and veggies. For example, you can choose a main course with double veggies or an omelet with tomatoes.
You can make your meal even healthier by making substitutions, such as replacing an order of mashed potatoes with more vegetables. Remember, veggies are not just nutritious but they also have extra fiber to make you feel full.
So if you are given the opportunity to choose a restaurant, do it carefully. For example, the best steakhouse in your area would be a great choice because you are sure to be provided an opportunity to eat high-quality protein with fresh veggies.
Make sure though to choose a restaurant known for serving high-grade cuts of meat, such as the USDA prime cuts, to ensure a healthy and pleasurable dining experience.
Once you have chosen where to dine out, consider checking the menu ahead of time and search for healthy items. For instance, some restaurants offer lighter dishes that use fewer calories and less sodium.
By taking the time to look over the menu and compare the dishes, you can nip any lingering temptation you may have to choose a richer dish in the bud. It’s common to make impulsive menu choices when you’re already seated at the table and the server is waiting to take your order.
Today, most reputable dining establishments have websites where they post their offerings, along with other facts about their restaurant. This can help make you a well-informed decision.
3. Find out how the food is prepared
How the food is cooked will have a huge impact on the number of calories it has. Stay away from foods described as crispy, fried, and pan-fried because these contain more calories and fat. Instead, go for cooking methods that indicate fewer calories and less fat, such as grilling, steaming, broiling and roasting.
If you are getting a steak, have it cooked to your liking. Generally, the ideal level of doneness is medium rare because this has a red, warm center with the brown, well-done outside. This combination makes for a tasty, juicy piece of meat.
Moreover, ask if it is rested before and after it’s cooked. By doing so, the meat won’t lose its natural flavors and will remain tender and succulent.
4. Try ordering two appetizers instead of the main course
If you are served big portions, you are more likely overeat. So if you are in a dining establishment that serves bigger portions of its main dishes, consider ordering two appetizers rather than the main course. Sampling a variety of lighter dishes instead of digging into a big serving of one dish may help you feel satisfied without consuming too many calories.
5. Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating refers to being conscious when deciding what to eat and being attentive to the eating process. While eating, you should take your time to savor the flavors and aromas of your food, along with the feelings and thoughts that arise while eating. This will not just help you make healthier food choices, but will also boost your self-control, so you won’t overeat.
6. Choose water over sweetened beverages
Always choose water over sweetened drinks because it will help you limit your intake of added sugar and calories. Make sure to drink some before and with your meal. Studies have shown that drinking water before eating will help you lose weight.
7. Split the dessert
The key to sustainable health is moderation. So when it comes to dessert, keep in mind that you don’t have to skip it each time you dine out. You can certainly order dessert once in a while, but try splitting it. By setting aside a portion of the dessert to eat for later, you won’t overeat in just one sitting, and you will still have satisfied your craving for a sweet treat.
Heading to a dining establishment like a steakhouse or a Japanese restaurant doesn’t need to be an excuse for eating unhealthy fare. Follow these tips so you can enjoy good food and feel satisfied while still sticking to your health and fitness goals.
Jenene Bronwin Batts is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ inquiries for the company’s destinations, including KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.
Franck Mottais is the Operations Manager at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. With a true passion for food and beverage operations, Franck’s personal goal is to consistently deliver the highest quality of guest service and effectively run distinguished establishments such as KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.