7 Tips to Dine Out, the Healthy Way
Clever strategies to stay fit and well-fedBy Statepoint
Love eating out with family and friends? If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your healthy lifestyle, a big part of being successful is having the freedom to enjoy the things you love and not feel deprived.
Unfortunately, those tasty meals at restaurants can contain more calories, salt and fats than food you’d prepare at home. Also, people can have a tendency to overeat when dining out (it’s hard to say “No” to freebies like chips and salsa or freshly baked bread).
Aim for the right balance of enjoyment and clever restraint by using these strategies from Mandi Knowles, dietitian for South Beach Diet.
1Go online before you dine.
Most restaurants post their menus online. Make a game plan beforehand so you won’t be tempted by unhealthier options in-person.
2Don’t show up starving.
Don’t skip out on breakfast or snacks so you can splurge. Showing up overly hungry makes you likely to overindulge. Plus, skipping meals can lead to a blood sugar crash and subsequent snacking, throwing you off track.
3Be the portion police.
Restaurant portions are often two or three times the amount you need for any given meal. Consider sharing an entrée with a friend, saving half your meal for later, ordering from the kid’s menu or choosing a few healthy appetizers instead of a full meal.
Start with a side salad to sneak in a serving of veggies and prevent overdoing it once your main meal arrives. Hold the croutons and cheese and ask for the dressing on the side.
5Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Seek out lighter preparations. Think steamed, broiled and grilled instead of breaded, battered and fried. Switch preparations, substitute ingredients, nix the butter or cream, and if that’s not possible, ask your server to point you to healthier selections.
Nothing’s worse than waiting when you’re hungry. Before you know it, you’re seated and your desperate tummy is calling the shots.
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, drinking just over two cups of water 30 minutes before a meal helped dieters consume fewer calories and lose 44 percent more weight than those who didn’t hydrate before meals.
Traveling in NC?
At Tripadvisor.com, if you put in “North Carolina” and “healthy restaurants” in the search field, you’ll get more than 30 pages of choices in various NC cities and towns. You can also put in a specific location and get a list. Those interested in vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in NC can peruse more than 720 choices at happycow.net.
Other ways to stay healthy