You know how it is. You’ve been a goody two shoes all week, eating nothing but lean protein and grilled veggies to keep that waistline trim. Then, Friday night rolls around, your friends invite you to dinner and your diet goes out the window in favor of mozzarella sticks. Even if you manage to avoid temptation, it can be hard to discern what’s good for you and what isn’t, from a menu.
Staying healthy is easy when you can plan meals yourself, but when faced with the tantalizing choices of a restaurant menu, it can be hard to determine what’s good and what’s bad. So, we’ve done the work for you. Here’s how you can eat out and still eat healthy!
When examining a menu you need to look at three important factors:
• What is in the dish?
• How is it prepared?
• What is in the sauce?
First, remember, lighter colored proteins like turkey, tilapia, halibut, chicken, and tofu are lower in calories than darker meats like beef, salmon, lamb, and tuna.
Second, knowing what the various terms mean in describing or preparing a dish can save you a lot of calories. Dishes that are fried, glazed, battered, or sauteed, are chock full of butter, oil, and sugar. Forget about them, and go for entrees that are steamed, broiled, baked, spice rubbed, or poached. Not only are they lower in calories, but they are also lower in salt, which causes bloating.
Third, ask about sauces. Many people forget about all the secret calories in those delicious, but dangerous, add-ons. Ask the server about the contents of the sauces and order them on the side, so you can control the amount that you eat.
As for dessert, it may be tempting to order a chocolate cheesecake, but you can often still satisfy your sweet tooth with a plate of fresh fruit. If you’re really craving something sugary, get a small dollop of whipped cream or sorbet on the side.
Last but not least, here are a few small tricks you can do to easily cut calories, without you even noticing.
• Have a snack before you head out for dinner, especially if you’re starving. The last thing you want to do is overeat because you’re famished.
• Tell the waiter not to bring the bread basket.
• Substitute heavier side orders like mashed potatoes for greens.
Add these changes to your dining out routine, and watch the pounds fall off! After some time, you’ll be so used to your new way of dining out, you won’t even notice the difference.