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Eating Healthy while dining out
July 19, 2021 at 7:00 AM
by Toni Knudson

If you enjoy dining out as much as we do, fear not, we have a few tips and tricks to help you stick to your healthy lifestyle and still enjoy not having to do the dishes afterwards! You won’t feel like you are sabotaging your nutrition plan but you will feel knowledgable when ordering food. Restaurants are notorious for hidden calories. Ingredients such as butter and oil are not only used in the preparation process but also added to enhance the flavor, color, and texture of food- probably contributes to why it tastes so yummy, but these calories can add up fast! Having a plan and knowing the style of food the restaurant serves can help you anticipate which items to select or which items to modify.

Here are a few tips to making eating out a healthier treat:

  1. Substitute the starchy carb (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc) with vegetables. We all heard it growing up- “Eat your vegetables” but this is a great way to avoid carb overload. Typically carbs served in most restaurants are doused in oils, butter, and salt. These are tough for your body to breakdown and when consuming high fat and carb intake that is a recipe for fat storage in the body.
  2. Order 2 appetizers instead of 1 appetizer & entrée. We are talking portion size here. Appetizers should be smaller portions than an entrée and can offer an opportunity to try something new. Smaller portions mean less calories, less calories consumed means the chances for consuming unwanted macronutrients is lower. (Aka less fat and inflammation)
  3. Focus on seafood and vegetable options. Seafood is more easily digestible and vegetables contain more fiber. All this mean is your gut will handle these better than something heavy like fried mozzarella sticks.
  4. Start with a salad. Salads are a fantastic way to begin to satisfy hunger and help prevent over eating. Not to mention you will also get in your veggies so it’s a total win in our book! Ask for your dressing on the side and avoid creamy options, cheese, and croutons. Dressing is high in calories and most restaurants tend to over dress salads. Cutting the cheese and croutons is a way to pull out the dairy and unnecessary carbohydrates. However, if a salad is your main course- feel free to leave them in.
  5. Choose broth-based, vegetable soups and pass on cream-based soups and bisques. Even though soups are primarily liquid, broth based soups are a healthier option. Cream based soups like chowders and bisques are loaded with calories and saturated fats making them not your best choice.
  6. Skip the bread basket. Do we really need to elaborate here? Haha. We will just incase. Bread is higher in calories than let’s say, a salad and it fills you up. Full before the main course means left overs and maybe late night snacks. We don’t need the temptation, pass on the basket.
  7. Avoid foods that are fried/stir-fried, breaded, crispy, tempura, creamed or buttered. We know what you’re thinking- “What the heck can I eat then?” Selecting options that are grilled is your best bet. Breading's and other forms of fried foods are not only packed in heavy dense calories that make up the batter but then they are dumped into hot oil. Oil that sits in your tummy and slows down your digestion.
  8. Share your meal. Here we go again with the portions. Most portion sizes in U.S. restaurants are significantly more than most adults need in one sitting. Your stomach is the size of your fist. Yes, you read that right. No need to over indulge, be mindful of how much you truly need verses how much you think you want.
  9. Skip sugary drinks. Forget the margaritas, piña coladas and other exotic mixed drinks that’s are packed with sugar. Some of these eye catching cocktails can over 800 calories in just one glass! Opt for a glass of wine, light beer or clear hard liquor with soda water. That being said, also pass on the Sodas. Soda is high in sugar and acid- known to erode teeth, contribute to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
  10. For dessert opt for fruit or sorbet and if you want to indulge share with your dining companions. Those who need to finish on a sweet note, we get it. If you’ve eaten a balanced meal finishing with a dessert isn’t as bad for you as you may suspect. The nutrients in the meal will help stabilize your blood sugar from the sweets. Being conscious of what you’re eating and how much is key.

Christmas Feast, Australia, Summer Christmas, Table Spread, Top-down, Ham, Salmon, Vegetables, Celebration, Event, Family Gathering, Gathering, Recipe by Jacob Leung

Well, there it is. Simple tips and tricks to give you the confidence and knowledge you need while enjoying those date nights, special occasions or breaks from cooking and cleaning! We hope you took something away and maybe have a new perspective on dinning out. Most importantly, enjoy the ones you are with and make sharing time over a meal special no matter the circumstance. Let’s Recalibrate!