How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

28 Jun

No one feels like cooking everyday, but if you’re eating healthy, you might be avoiding restaurants like the plague. When you dine out, eating healthy is out of your control, right? Wrong! If you learn how to eat healthy at restaurants, you can go as far as to turn your kitchen into a 2nd closet, if that suites your fancy. You don’t have to eat like hogzilla when you’re at a restaurant. Be smart with your menu choices and you’ll find a way to be eating healthy at every (alright, almost every) restaurant in town.

How can you pass up healthy eating when it looks this good?

How to Eat Healthy at Restaurants

1.) These words are bad, say no to them: creamy, fried, tempura, battered, dressing, butter, crispy, saute, marinated, stuffed, breaded.

2.) These words are good, say yes to them: grilled, steamed, fresh, low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb.

3.) Salads are deceptive. You’re not necessarily eating healthy because your meal is sitting on a bed of lettuce. Salad dressing can be a fat bomb. Always order it on the side. Order low-fat or low-calorie when you can, and dip the salad into it with your fork. You use less this way.

4.) Exercise portion control. Everyone knows that restaurants typically serve a ton of food. More food than you would eat at home. Instead of stuffing yourself silly, get a to-go box and save your leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

5.) Cool it on the fruit drinks, beer, and cocktails.  For example, each glass of raspberry lemonade that you drink at the Olive Garden will pack on 110 extra calories to your meal.

6.) Check the nutrition information in advance, when possible. Most chain restaurants have their nutrition information available online. Google the restaurant you’re planning to visit, before leaving home to choose a couple of healthy options. For example, I recently practiced this method when visiting the California Pizza Kitchen. Eating healthy is a bit difficult at this restaurant, but definitely possible. I recommend the Roasted Vegetable Salad, with fat-free vinaigrette dressing (on the side). Guys, it’s okay for you to do this too! I know a ton of guys who follow this method, including my own boyfriend.

7.) Hold the cheese. I know, I know cheese tastes fabulous, but it’s not so fabulous for your waistline. Even if you don’t ask for the cheese to be withheld from your meal, pick some of it off. You’ll save yourself some mondo calories.

8.) Split dessert, if you must have it. There’s nothing wrong with letting yourself have some unhealthy food, as long as you keep your portion size in check. Instead of having each person at the table get their own dessert, split one with a few others. You’ll get a taste of deliciousness, and you’ll be able to fit in your pants tomorrow. Double win!

9.) Don’t order vegetables blindly. Restaurants want food to taste good, so often times they’ll make even the healthiest items a fat fest by cooking them in butter. For example, a side of fire roasted corn at Smokey Bones has 280 calories and 15 grams of fat. Eww. When in doubt, ask how these vegetables are prepared, and if it sounds shady, requested yours steamed.

10.) Instead of freaking out if you get caught up in the moment and accidentally splurge on a calorie-infested dinner, learn from your mistakes. Then enjoy it! You can’t gain weight from one pig fest, so it’s fine to eat something really, really bad, that’s really, really good from time-to-time.


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