Dining out can be tricky when remaining healthy and in shape is a main concern. The reason being, when we dine out, chefs are not concerned about low sodium, regulating your fat intake or caloric intake. A chefs main priority is making food taste good and that almost always includes lots of seasonings (sodium), sauces and marinades (sodium and sugar), and high fats (oils, butter, etc). So it’s up to us to take control of the situation and learn how to enjoy eating out without sacrificing our health and fitness goals. Even though the best plan of action is to prepare our food in advance and carry it with us, things pop up, and we need to be prepared to NOT fall off the healthy lifestyle bandwagon just because someone else is preparing our food. The tips below will guide you through the dining out experience the healthy way!!
Stick with Fish, preferably white - It's lean
White fish has the least amount of fat so therefore when eating it; you will be consuming the least amount of fat. It can be prepared several different ways, just make sure it’s not friend and not marinated with heavy sauces, always as for sauce on the side. Pair it with spinach, asparagus, or any veggie and you have yourself an amazing, healthy meal.
Load up on veggies
Will help you feel fuller and you'll be less likely to over eat fatty foods. When I’m writing out meal plans for my clients, I include at least 2 cups of veggies with every meal. Many are high in fiber so they keep you fuller longer.
Small starchy carb portions
Starchy carbs such as brown rice, potatoes, yams, oatmeal are a great source of carbs, but moderation is important. Stick to smaller portions, your body will burn it up as fuel and you will not gain weight.
They are loaded with sugar & sodium and will not only cause you to gain weight in the long term, but short term effects will be water retention and bloating. Ask for your sauce on the side, if you must, use a little to add taste, but certainly do not use the whole serving.
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcohol provides no benefit to your body other than water retention and weight gain. However, lots of people do like to enjoy a cocktail every once in a while, so my suggestion is to stick to Red Wine. Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. And lastly, it contains resveratrol, which helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots. So if you must drink, stick to something that ‘may’ provide a few health benefits.
Split desert with at least 1 person
You still get your sweet fix but only consume half the calories. Most times all we crave is a few tastes anyway, but we continue to eat because it’s there. It’s the last part of the meal, you’re already full, why stuff yourself with useless calories?
Be aware of portion size
Really easy rules to stick to, if the protein is over 5 ounces (usually says it on the menu or you can ask), split it & take other half home. I often ask the server to split it in the kitchen, only bring out half on my plate and put the other half in a ‘to go’ container.
Drink plenty of water
Very important to keep you hydrated. Not only will you feel full, but you’ll also avoid retaining water.
Avoid anything fried
Self explanatory. Grease, clogged arteries, stomach aches..you get the point.
Don't show up to the restaurant hungry
If you do this, you’ll pig out on everything in sight. I’m not saying consume a full meal before dining out, but consider snacking on a piece of fruit or drinking a few glasses of water. That way you’ll make reasonable decisions once you reach your destination.