Resist Restaurant Temptations

By Nicole Yang

One of the toughest parts about eating healthy is resisting temptation, especially in restaurants. From the Deep Dish Macaroni & 3-Cheese at Uno Chicago Grill (1,980 calories) to the Crispy Chicken Costoletta at The Cheesecake Factory (2,610 calories), too many meal options have more than the daily recommended calorie intake. Dining out can be a challenge when you’re trying to make healthy choices, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid going out. Here are some tips to help you avoid making poor eating decisions at restaurants:

  • Think ahead. If you know you’re going out to dinner, then plan your other meals and snacking throughout the day accordingly. Do not skip meals or starve yourself because it will that leave you unsatisfied and hungry, which may cause you to overeat at dinner. Instead, consider eating a lighter lunch in order to conserve calories.
  • Look up the restaurant online before you go to eat. Many restaurants have their menus readily available online, and some even post their nutritional information. If you are able to find this information, pick out what you want to eat ahead of time. It may be best to skip opening the menu so you are less likely to be swayed by the temptation of other meals.
  • Drink water. Do not waste your precious calories on sugary drinks, such as soda or other fruity beverages. One 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola has 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar. Studies show that cutting soda out of your diet is a beneficial decision for weight loss as well as your overall health.
  • Substitute when you can. Don’t be afraid to request to substitute ingredients or side dishes. If your meal comes with a side of fries, try to see if you can substitute them for a side salad or grilled vegetables. If the restaurant does not allow substitutions, then it may just be best to ask for no fries, so that way you are not tempted by them.
  • Share. Consider splitting an larger dish with a friend. Many restaurants typically serve you with over a meal’s worth of food anyway. Another option is to ask for half of an entrée to be brought out and package the rest for another meal.
  • Ask your server questions. It’s okay to ask your servers a few questions regarding the food. You may want to know how it is cooked, if particular ingredients are used, or which menu options are the healthiest. If your waiter does not know, it is very likely that he will take the time to find out for you.
  • Have it your way. Request to have your food prepared in a healthier way. For example, you may ask to have grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Skip the starters. Though the bread basket offers delicious temptation, try to wait for your meal instead of eating the rolls. If you do, set a limit so that you don’t overeat. On average, a piece of bread has 100 calories, which can add up pretty quickly.
  • Dressing on the side. Ask to have dressings and sauces on the side. Many restaurants usually pour too much dressing and sauce on their dishes, so you by taking control, you will actually know how much you are  consuming.

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal when it comes to eating healthy, but don’t worry if you are going out to a restaurant for a special occasion, date, or night out with friends. With these tips, you can enjoy a fun dinner out while still making healthy choices.

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Categories: Your Nutrition

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