Most of us eat out, at least a little. Some eat out most of the time. Whether we run through a drive-thru between kid activities or have work lunches daily, eating out is part of life for most of us.
Cooking and eating from home is the healthiest choice because we are in control of what goes in the food we cook. It should be a goal to eat from home most of the time. But the reality is, that probably won’t happen every day. Then, when we do eat out we often we feel we are sabotaging our diet, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With a little thought and planning, eating out a couple times a week can be part of a healthy diet. Here are some tips to help you eat healthy while eating out.
- Order smaller portions. Sometimes ordering a la carte is a good choice.
- Make half your plate vegetables and fruit. They are lower in calories and have filling fiber to help you stay full longer.
- Choose healthier cooking options – ask for grilled, baked, broiled, or steamed.
- Don’t starve yourself before going to dinner. You can’t save calories, because you will overeat and make unhealthy choices when you are very hungry.
- Watch the calories in your drinks. Whether it’s soda, sweet tea, juice or alcoholic beverages – the calories can add up quickly. Stick to water most of the time.
- Plan ahead and check the menu online. Most restaurants (especially fast food) have the nutrition information on their website. Check for healthy food options.
- Take home leftovers. You do not have to be part of the “clean plate club”.
Remember, if you are going out for a special occasion, like a birthday, it is ok to overlook the tips. Enjoy yourself on that ONE day. Then get back to healthy eating!