Let’s face it, going out to eat at a restaurant is generally a pleasant experience regardless if it’s with family, friends, a date, or a solo outing. The satisfaction of being able to browse a menu until finding something you’d like to have prepared for you without having to lift a finger is truly a blessing.
However before you get too carried away with all the choices you’re faced with, if you are really concerned with losing weight and getting into better shape, then practicing some healthy eating habits at restaurants should be something you need to start considering especially if you frequently go out to eat.
Here are 6 healthy eating habits you should always maintain when eating out at restaurants:
1. Check for low-calorie options
Always first check to see if there is an actual section within the menu labeled low-calorie or maybe even something such as “Healthy Options.” Some restaurants now have an entire page where they offer meals low in calorie for those monitoring portion size. This should be your number one option to look for first before going on to any other section in the menu. Think of it this way, how much healthier will it be for your body to eat a 450 calorie meal instead of a 2,000 calorie meal? Just because you are going out to eat does not mean you have to go hog-wild and cram anything and everything into your body. This is still just one single meal so treat it as such.
2. Share an entree
Sometimes you will be unable to choose an option that will have an appropriate calorie amount which is why you may want to share a meal with someone you’re with. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Not only will you be taking out half of the calories, but you will also be saving money since the meal will be split between two people.
3. Immediately get a to-go box
If you do not have anyone with you, or if no one wants to share a meal, the next best thing to do is to ask for a to-go box (also commonly known as a doggie bag) when your meal arrives. With this handy container you can immediately put half the meal away and bag it up so it’s out of sight. Don’t wait until the end of the meal to ask for a container since you may continue to eat if there is still food on the plate. Put it out of sight and you will have a nice portion size for the following day.
4. Watch out for those drinks
One simple way to cut out calories from a restaurant outing is with your drink selection. Do you realize that each 20oz. soda has almost 200 calories? If you have two you already have about 400 calories in beverages alone not including appetizers, your meal, or any desserts. Do without the sugary junk and stick with coffee, tea, or better yet water and you will escape the beverage pitfalls.
5. Beware of desserts
Most desserts pack a caloric wallop that our bodies just don’t need, especially after eating a large meal. Take the Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae from Applebees for example. This sounds somewhat innocent enough especially with a price of only $5.99. But what about the 1,540 calories that come right along with that price tag? Beware of desserts no matter how appealing and decorative they are since they will do nothing but add unnecessary calories to your overall restaurant outing total.
6. Avoid bread rolls or other appetizers
The sneaky appetizers or bread rolls that often get tacked on to a restaurant tab with many not realizing how detrimental they are to healthy eating habits. Popular chicken wings generally have twice as many calories as an entire meal, and those seemingly innocent bread rolls can be anywhere from 150-300 calories each depending on what type and/or toppings are added. Save your body the additional suffering and avoid them if at all possible. If you must snack on something before your meal, a couple saltine crackers and a large glass of water should tide you over until your main course arrives.
Maintaining healthy eating habits at restaurants are crucial so you escape the potential weight gaining danger unscathed. Restaurants can be pleasant experience if and when you keep a watchful eye on what you order.
It all comes down to self-control. This is crucial if you are concerned with losing weight and getting into better shape. You can do it! Just remember these 6 healthy eating tips the next time you go out to eat at a restaurant and you will find yourself making wiser, more health conscious decisions.
Gregory L. Gomez, a LAUSD teacher who’s also on journey to develop a healthy life in an effort to lose weight and get in shape. Follow his progress on http://HealthyChoicesInLife.com as he strives to lose nearly 100 pounds by eating healthy and maintaining a consistent exercise routine. Get a FREE monthly Healthy Choices Newsletter along with a Healthy Eating eBook just for stopping by at http://healthychoicesinlife.com/healthy-eating.