Eating out doesn’t have to be a workout. It should always be a fun way to enjoy food with friends, take a night off meal prep and try some new flavors. Too often, though, we either stress about our choices or end up indulging in everything. Don’t worry—there is a middle ground. Here are some easy tips to help you enjoy eating out without compromising your nutrition goals!
To keep nutrition on track, check out menus in advance to guide you to healthier places when eating out. Taking the time to do a little research makes the experience of eating out way more enjoyable.
With the rise of gluten-free, vegan and dietary requirements, most restaurants are willing to cater to specific requests. Don’t be afraid to ask for simple modifications to help keep your nutrition on track. Simple changes like requesting dressing on the side or skipping fried sides can help cut unnecessary calories.
You work hard, so don’t waste calories on nutrient-poor sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages. Still or sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon can make for a refreshing alternative.
Aside from obvious terms like ‘deep fried’ or ‘crispy,’ watch out for others like ‘fritters,’ ‘au gratin’ or ‘confit,’ which mean they’ve been cooked in significant amounts of oil and fat. Don’t be afraid to ask what something means! Healthier options include those that are ‘steamed,’ ‘grilled,’ or ‘roasted.’
Just because it says raw, organic, or natural, it can still pack a heap of calories/kilojoules, fat, and sugar, regardless of how natural they are. Watch out for trendy foods, such as raw cakes—although they contain fruit and nuts, they may still contain as many kilojoules as a traditional cake. It’s fine to enjoy them, but sparingly!
Take it Home
Be realistic if the portion is much greater than what you’d usually consume. If main meals are excessive, take half home or opt for something else if the temptation is too great.