Fitness Magazine

5 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

By Kenin Bassart @Constantramble

Healthy eating while enjoying a meal out at a restaurant is a big challenge for anyone learning to live a healthy lifestyle. The moment you go out to eat you lose a lot of control as to how the food is prepared and you can easily fall victim to the cravings for fatty fried foods or rich and creamy sauces. Even though it’s common for restaurants to have a “fit” menu, let’s face it; most of those options come across as the least appetizing choice in the restaurant. We’ve put together these 5 tips for eating healthy at a restaurant to help us, and you, stay on track.

Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

1 – how hungry are you?

Our first tip comes into play before you ever step foot into a restaurant. You need to figure out when the last time you ate was and how hungry you really are. The reason this is important is because your hunger level is directly proportional to how effectively you’ll be able to control your cravings. If you walk into a restaurant feeling like you haven’t had a meal in weeks you’re more likely to order too much food and foods that aren’t good for you. If you feel like you’re starving and won’t be eating for a while have a small snack before you leave the house. I know it sounds counterintuitive but eating a little bit now can save you from overeating later. Try an apple or a small handful of nuts and fruit. Try to keep the snack around 100 calories and don’t eat something sugary as it can cause a crash and make you even more hungry.

Healthy Eating Tip #1

2 – water water everywhere…

Many restaurants have very large drink menu’s these days. I’m not just talking about cocktails either. There’s two reasons these should be avoided at all costs. First of all, that delicious sounding mango peach iced tea is full of empty calories and secondly, all the sugar is going to spike your blood sugar levels and throw off your digestive system. Learn to order water instead. It’ll save you money and it’ll save your waistline. If you “need” a drink with flavor try ordering unsweetened tea or order the water and the other drink.  Alternate water in between sips of the sweetened drink to reduce your overall intake of calories. If you have alcohol, the water will help keep you hydrated as well.

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3 – have the soup or salad…

Skip the appetizers when ordering and opt for the soup or salad instead. There are very few appetizers that fall anywhere near the realm of healthy and they are frequently some of the most unhealthy items on the menu. For example, did you know one Bloomin’ Onion at Outback Steakhouse has about 2000 calories in it? Compare that to a small salad or bowl of soup and the choice is obvious. Just make sure to get your dressing on the side for that salad, and try to order a soup with a clear broth as creamy soups are normally high in fat. Doing this will help fill you up with with healthier options before tackling the  next step, the entree…

Eating Healthy Tip #3

4 – learn to share…

One of the biggest reasons eating out can be so unhealthy is the ridiculously large portion sizes that they serve. If you take the time to look at the huge plates they use, every inch is normally stuffed, and it’s usually filled with lots of unhealthy carbs. It’s cheaper for the restaurant to give you more mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta than more protein. There’s two ways to turn this around. The first is a favorite of Lauren and I, just share! Order something that you both like (if that’s an issue many restaurants have a sampler or variety plate) and then split it. We do it all the time and the restaurants don’t care. If you’re eating out alone, or just can’t agree on an entree, ask for a box right when you get your food. Then you can take 1/2 the dish and box it up right at the beginning. This allows you to control your portions and also clean your plate, which is an important part of your brain telling your body you are full.

Eating Healthy Tip 4 Share!!

A dish like this can easily be shared.

5 – do’s and don’ts of dessert

It’s ok to order and have dessert occasionally. You’re going through a lifestyle change, not some short term starvation diet. Once you’ve finished your entree take your time in ordering the dessert. Many servers try to get you to order dessert before you’ve even finished your plate to turn the table faster. The reason it isn’t great for you though, is you have no idea if you have room for dessert. Even after you’ve finished your entree take some time relaxing and talking before you order. It’ll give your food time to settle and decide if you really want to have that treat. If you do order dessert, go back to step 4 and repeat. Desserts are usually more than large enough for two or more people to share and satisfy your mind’s craving for something sweet.  Either share your dessert with your dining partner, or cut it in half and save part of it for a reward later in the week. You can also ask the restaurant  if they have kids desserts on the menu and order one of those.

Eating Healthy Tip #5

These tips for eating healthy in a restaurant should help you control your portions and keep your total calorie intake at a healthy level. The hardest thing to teach yourself when you begin this journey is what a proper and normal food portion is. When you finish any meal you shouldn’t have that stuffed and bloated feeling, if you do, it means you packed too much food (and too many calories) into your last meal. If that happens, don’t worry we all fall off the wagon at times, just learn from your past mistakes and make your next meal a better, and healthier one along the road to fit!

If you found these 5 tips for eating healthy helpful you wont want to miss our on other tips we share in the future. Keep in touch with me and follow my journey on Facebook, twitter,  Google+Pinterest, and Instagram


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