Are you looking for ways you can stay healthy when eating out? If you can’t say no to a dinner invite from friends and are sick of getting the same old salad, you’ve clicked the right article. Read until the end to get Sports Samurai’s 10 practical tips for eating out healthy.
How to Enjoy Yourself Yet Stay Healthy When Eating Out
1. Scope out the Menu Before Eating out
One of the best ways to stay healthy when eating out is to scope out the menu before heading out. Our Nandos nutrition guide has done this for you if this is your favourite place to eat!
It’s especially important when you’re not familiar with the food the restaurant serves. You’re likely to make unhealthy food choices when you’re confused about what to order.
By reading the menu ahead of time, you can already tell which dishes best fit your diet. It keeps you from making snap decisions that’ll lead you to binge later on.
2. Snack on Something Healthy Before Leaving
Here’s another of many tips for eating out healthy: have a healthy snack before you go. The problem with going to the restaurant with an empty stomach is you might order too much food and overeat.
Snacking on something healthy before you go fills you up a bit. It helps you control the amount of food you’ll order and keep you from overeating.
Here’s a list of healthy snacks you can much on before eating out:● Mixed nuts (1 serving)
- Yogurt and berries (1 cup)
- Apples (1 medium-sized) with peanut butter (1 tsp)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Celery or carrots (5 sicks) with cream cheese (1 tbsp)
3. Say No to Buffets (And Propose an Alternative)
Sometimes, it’s okay to say no. Stick to this mantra and stay healthy when eating out by declining an invitation to all-you-can-eat buffets.
Buffets and diets are a terrible combination. With so much food out in the open, you’ll have a hard time curbing your urges and controlling your portions. It’s best to stay away from buffet invitations, especially when you’re on a diet.
If saying no to a buffet dinner invite isn’t an option, try this: propose another place you and your friends can go instead. Choose one that’s of equal value and offers healthy cuisines to eat out. Your friends will thank you!
4. Steer Clear of the Bread
If you’re eating out on a diet, steering clear of the complimentary bread can help you stay on track.
A ton of excess carbs is hiding in the breadbasket. If you’re not careful, you can consume extra calories even before your actual meal arrives.
If you’re eating out alone and the waiter places the basket on your table, ask them to take it back. When you’re dining with friends, resist the urge to get a piece of bread by keeping your hands busy—fiddle with the table napkin or drink a glass of water.
5. Chew Slowly and Mindfully
Stay healthy when eating out by chewing your food slow and steady. Slow chewing keeps your mouth busy. Plus, it prevents you from eating less and even helps you feel full quicker.
Here are things you can do to help you slow down when you eat:
- Set a minimum number of chews before swallowing your food
- Put down your utensils between mouthfuls
- Appreciate each mouthful by slicing or forking the food slowly
6. Drink Water as You Eat
Drinking water as you eat helps you feel full faster and stops you from overeating. The best thing is that ice-cold water has zero calories. You can drink a lot of it without worrying.
Other drinks like fruit juices and sodas will fill you up faster than water. Then again, these drinks are packed with sugar, which can be bad for your diet. When you’re offered a sugary drink to go with your meal, say no and have water instead.
7. Split Your Meal With a Friend
If you’re looking to stay healthy when eating out, don’t eat an entire starter by yourself. Instead, split the portion with a friend!
Splitting your plate with a friend helps you cut down on your calorie intake and prevents you from overeating. Plus, it also saves you some money since you’ll be splitting the bill.
Tip: If none of your friends want to share your order, still ask the waiter to half-portion it and wrap it up for you to take home.
8. Ask for Healthy Alternatives
Some restaurants just don’t have the healthiest food options on the menu. When that happens, how do you stay on track when eating out?
One way is to ask the restaurant if they can swap out some items on their menu with healthier alternatives. Maybe instead of getting the fried chicken, you can request for the chicken to be baked instead.
The key is to ask the waiter nicely if it can be done. Don’t be so pushy! If they can’t make it happen, opt for the item with the most vegetables. Or, order extra salad or vegetables on the side instead of your usual side.
9. Move Your Sauces or Dips on the Side
Having the sauces or dips of your meal served on the side is a classic yet effective way to stay healthy when eating out.
Sauces usually have a lot of fat and calories in them. When they’re added right onto your meal, you really can’t control how much of it you eat.
Asking for your sauce or dips on the side gives you control over how much of it you’ll have. It reduces the chance of you eating excess calories, too!
10. Choose Coffee Over Cake for Desert
You’ve come to the end of the meal. You made all the healthy food decisions and about to call it a day, but your friend offers to have desert. What do you do?
You can say yes, but when you do, have a cup of coffee instead of cake. Deserts are full of sugar. Having too many sweets can ruin your diet.
Much like dessert, coffee is a great palette cleanser after a heavy meal without all the sugar. However, when you do get coffee, limit the milk and sugar. Lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos are full of them! Instead, get an Americano, and add a splash of milk to it.
When you’re on a diet or trying to eat healthily, going out for a meal can be intimidating. With these 10 tips, you’ll be able to stay on track of your diet even when you’re eating out. With enough dedication and self-control, you’ll be able to stay healthy when eating out in no time.
What other things do you do to stay healthy when eating out? Share them with us in the comments section below!