12 Tips to Help Make Eating Out Healthier

restaurant meals on table

Eating a home-cooked meal 365 days a year can be challenging. Some days I’m simply too tired to cook or I’m in the mood to try something different. So instead of feeling guilty about eating out, I take a healthy approach that allows me to enjoy my meal and moment of freedom.  In this blog, I share my 12 go-to tips to help take the guilt out of eating out.

1. Choose a time that fits with your day-to-day schedule. If you’re used to eating dinner at 6pm, arrange restaurant reservations for around the same time. Your body likes routine, stick with it to avoid those hangry moments.

2. Dietary restriction? Look for accommodating restaurants. If the location doesn’t list ingredients on their online menu, call and ask if they have what you’re looking for (i.e. gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.).  Planning ahead ensures you’ll be able to actually order something and enjoy your meal.

3. Don’t let others persuade you.  You know what I’m talking about, that friend that orders gravy on everything. It might sound good but trust me it’s not worth the indigestion.

4. Ditch the salt. Restaurants over salt, ask them to reduce or not use salt when preparing your meal. If they tell you that the food is already prepared, consider choosing a different restaurant -you should be eating and spending your money on FRESH FOOD!

5. Dressing on the side. It’s true, some salad dressings have more sodium and sugar then you can imagine. Most restaurants that provide fresh menu options make their dressings in-house; ask them what’s in their dressing (in case of allergies) and to put it on the side to control the amount you’d like to use.

6. Pass on the pop (this includes diet pop too). You know the negative health affects pop has on your body, don’t give in. If you enjoy pop for the fizz, give sparkling water with a spritz of lemon or lime a try.

7. If ordering a meat entree, consider portions. Does the portion/ounces match your regular eating habits?  If the portion available is too large, don’t be shy to take leftovers home. Steak and egg breakfast omelet anyone?

8. Keep it balanced.  Ordering a protein-heavy dinner, choose a side dish that will ease digestion (i.e. something rich in fibre).

9. Go for grilled or baked options. Not only are these healthier options but I’m a firm believer that you can actually taste the food better when it’s prepared this way.

10. Skip dessert… just kidding! Making healthier choices doesn’t mean you can’t live a little! Split dessert if you’re out with company and hold all the fancy sauces, powdered sugars, heavy whipping creams, etc.  You’d be surprised how much more sugar these toppings add to your already sweet dessert.

11. Walk it out. Get moving after your meal to get that blood flowing! Eating out is fun but it often involves sitting for long periods of time, so don’t wait to get up and moving!

12. Moderation is key. How often do you eat out? Weekly, daily? Keeping a calendar can help keep you on track. Eating out is a treat you should feel good about, while using tips like the ones listed above to help keep your health a priority – your stomach and wallet will thank you.

If you’re hard on yourself every time you eat out STOP. Eliminate the guilt by making healthier choices with simple healthy tips. It’s time to embrace the moment and enjoy your meal, even if you’re not the one making it!

Do you have healthy tips for when you eat out? What’s the one thing you keep in mind when ordering at a restaurant? Share with me in the comment section or on social media!

Helping you put wellness 1st,

Fay

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