We teamed up with our friends at Center Your Health to provide you with 55 tips for eating out! Americans consume 1/3 of their calories away from home!
1. Before you head out, check out the restaurant’s menu online. This way you are not rushed to make a hasty decision.
2. All-You-Can-Eat places are going to hurt your stomach, body, and your wallet!
3. Make reservations! This will reduce your wait time for when you arrive which will
eliminate hunger time or the window of opportunity for drinks at the bar.
4. Let go of the need to “save your calories.” Sticking with your daily balanced eating routine will help control your appetite.
5. Be the last to sit at the table. Might sound strange, but go to the bathroom and wash your hands. Less time at the table with the bread and butter in-sight will leave a smaller window of opportunity to munch on them.
6. Appetizers don’t have to only come from the first page. Look at the whole menu and find a healthy way to start like a fresh salad or a side item.
7. Beware of fried or breaded foods. They are dangerously unhealthy.
8. Go easy on condiments, sauces, and dressings.
9. Avocado is healthy for you and high in good quality fat. Enjoy it on salads or in guacamole and as with anything, don’t overdo it.
10. Enjoy salads? Skip the croutons, pasta, creamy dressings, and cheese but add on hard-
boiled eggs, avocado, beans, nuts/seeds, dark leafy greens and an array of crunchy fresh
11. Bulk up your salad with a scoop of quinoa or brown rice, or a palm-sized portion of animal protein.
12. Inquire what the soup of the day is. Bean & pea soups are delicious and packed with fiber and other great nutrients.
13. Keep salad dressings simple. Try a squeeze of lemon or vinegar with a touch of oil. Even a drizzle of maple syrup or truffle oil will bring a whole new life to it!
14. Read labels and question restaurants about their sauces/condiments/dressings. They are the perfect hiding places for MSG and other nasty additives!
15. Pick your side dishes before your entrée. Order as many vegetable options and ask if they could be prepared with butter. It’s a healthier alternative over cheap vegetable or soy oils.
16. Got a need for some crunch? Enjoy fresh crudité rather than chips. Most chips contain harmful oils that are genetically modified.
17. Ask for steamed broccoli and butter on your baked potato rather than getting it loaded with poor quality sour cream and cheese. Even beans and salsa is a great alternative. Eat the skins of the potato, too!
18. Coleslaw when prepared at home can be a refreshing side to your lunch. At restaurants it is usually made with non-organic vegetables and drenched in cheap mayo. Yuck!
19. Find these preparation words: “grilled, baked, steamed, blackened.”
20. Scout out a local farm to table restaurant in your area. This is a perfect way to order almost anything you want on the menu knowing that it’s some of the most nutritious food grown locally and seasonally.
21. Rely more on herbs and spices to flavor your food than sauces or gravies. Herbs are a yummy way to add some health to your meal and spices allow you to enjoy sweet or savory dishes without unhealthy ingredients.
22. Yogurt is a great option on the go for breakfast or as a side at lunch, but most are blended with loads of sugar, defeating their tummy-healthy benefits. Shoot for plain yogurt but add fresh fruit, nuts/seeds and/or honey.
23. Wild, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring are all healthy ways to get in your omega-3s.
24. Have a craving for something salty? Restaurants use poor quality salts that have no nutrients that our bodies need. Order a piece of fish to get in a healthy dose of sea minerals!
25. Eating out is a social event, not a race! Place your fork down in between each bite of food and practice your manners by chewing slowly and completely. This will help you enjoy your food more and eat less.
26. When finished with a meal place your utensils and napkin neatly over the plate so that you won’t continue to eat what’s left over or dip the last few pieces of bread in any extra sauce!
27. Eat slower by putting your fork down in-between bites or eat with your non-dominant hand. For even more of a “slow-down challenge”, eat with chopsticks!
28. Drink a glass of water about 30-minutes before your meal. Often times hunger is a confusion for thirst. Try to avoid drinking anything throughout your meal, but rather chew your food well. This will help aid in digestion. About 15-20 minutes after your meal, it’s fine to drink a glass of water.
29. Start a conversation that will keep you intrigued! You will almost forget you are eating because you will be busy talking, and may eat less.
30. Make your entrée into tomorrow’s lunch. Split it half and bring the other half home.
31. Need something sweet after you eat? Enjoy a fruit bowl, a small scoop of sorbet or even a flavored herbal tea.
32. Share! Those brownies with ice cream on top could be devastating for one person, but a couple extra spoons will limit your portion and will allow all to enjoy.
33. Sharing your food may slow you down and keep you aware of how much you’re
consuming. It’s also a great way to try a few things on the menu!
34. Don’t drink instead of eat. Sure it is okay to enjoy a drink after a long week, but make sure you order your meal before you start to loosen up!
35. Keep your eye on the prize! Talk about your diet. This will leave you responsible for how you eat because you will feel like you can’t preach without practice!
36. Get rid of “I deserve” mentality. You did not just go to a spin class for 2-hours so that you could “deserve” that loaf of bread on the table. You deserve to be healthy, happy and fit…that is an award in and of itself!
37. Ask questions! Don’t feel embarrassed to ask how a food is prepared, if you want something on the side or how big the portion is.
38. Create a rainbow on your plate! Each vibrant color of food from the earth is jam packed with vitamins and nutrients to nourish your body. Order the rainbow!
39. Gravitate towards items: baked, braised, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, steamed. Menu terms to skip or only enjoy in small quantities are those that contain poor quality fats: batter-fried, pan-fried, buttered, creamed, crispy, breaded.
40. Hunger can drive you to eat too much bread before your meal arrives. Hold the bread or chips until your meal is served. Out of sight, out of mind. Besides, white bread (which most restaurants serve) are just loaded with sugar and empty nutrition.
41. Love breakfast sandwiches, bagels, pancakes or muffins in the morning? Take a step back and recognize that’s a sugar craving. Feed your body high quality protein like eggs, breakfast sausage or plain yogurt over those sugar-filled carbs.
42. Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. Sometimes you can even skip the cheese and ask for a side of salad dressing on the side for a totally different twist!
43. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with some avocado. Skip the cheese but ask for a side of salsa on the side for even more flavor.
44. Egg-white omelets have a reputation for being healthy, but that’s incorrect. Eggs are a perfect, nutritious food and should be enjoyed in their whole form.
45. Looking to trim your tummy? Take a long stroll or walk after your meals to help digestion and burn calories.
46. Jazz up your sushi by asking for more veggies in your roll. Shiitake mushrooms, avocado, pickled or seasonal vegetables are all great ways to add nutrition.
47. Soda, especially diet soda, is linked to a laundry list of health issues. If you love that bubbly, try seltzer water sweetened with a splash of fresh fruit juice and wedge of lemon or orange!
48. Eating just two slices of deli (or other processed) meat a day increases your risk of diabetes/cancer and heart disease by 50 percent. Inquire about the quality of your meat and opt for organic, minimally processed, grass-fed options. Healthy and happy animals make YOU healthy and happy!
49. Lighten up your plate and enjoy a smaller portion of food, but fill up with laughs and good times with the company you are dining with. You’ll be surprised at how fulfilling that is!
50. Is heartburn, bloating or gas a part of your plans after a meal out? It shouldn’t be. Your body is trying to get your attention that something isn’t working. Honestly ask yourself what could be causing these symptoms and experiment with adding or eliminating certain foods that may be triggering it so you can get on with your life!
51. If you enjoyed a bit too much at a meal, don’t guilt yourself. Ask for a cup of hot herbal tea such a peppermint, chamomile or ginger. All will help aid in digestion and fight the occasional nausea.
52. Chinese food isn’t the only place where MSG lingers. Many sauces and dips contain it. Always ask.
53. Eat your plate’s garnish. At the end of your meal don’t forget to enjoy the few sprigs of parsley left on your plate. It’s high in calcium and will freshen your breath!
54. As soon as you have that “I’m almost full” feeling, ask the waiter to pack up your meal.
55. Eating out is a treat. It’s not the end of the world if you splurge a bit; just try not to overdo it.