Dining out is one of the best ways to unwind and spend quality time with your friends or family. It’s fun to explore and try out different restaurants and recipes. But if you’re restricting yourself to a certain healthy diet, enjoying a meal in a restaurant can be tricky.
Different restaurants offer varying menus, so if you’re really keen on sticking to your diet, you need to be creative with each of your orders to only consume what your meal plan allows you. Will dining out be fun, then, if you’re always so conscious?
Absolutely, yes. Your healthy diet shouldn’t hinder you from having a good time in an awesome restaurant. Here are some helpful hacks to ensure your health every time you dine out:
1. Choose a Restaurant With a Healthy Menu
It all starts with a plan. Before heading out with your pals, suggest restaurants with a healthy and flavorful menu. For example, a Mexican restaurant that uses fresh and healthy ingredients. Even if your companions aren’t as health-conscious as you, they’d certainly enjoy a mouthwatering dish with fresh veggies and a delectable combination of spices. It’s evidence that healthy food can be super yummy, too!
2. Know Your Healthy Fats
Fats aren’t always a harmful thing in food, so if you’re maintaining a healthy diet, you don’t have to dodge every fat. Order dishes with olive oil, olives, canola oil, nuts, nut butter, or avocado. Those contain monounsaturated fats, which are healthy fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels. Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, also have healthy fats called polyunsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol as well.
3. Order a Balanced Meal
If you eat balanced meals at home, try to do the same at restaurants. A balanced meal typically consists of an entree salad, a main course, and side dishes. Some salads already provide balanced nutrition, like those with toppings of grilled or baked chicken, seafood, beans, and other protein and fiber sources. Look for those and order the dressing separately so you can control how much you’d use.
For your main course, consider a sandwich with whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado. Choose ketchup, mustard, salsa, or relish for your condiments.
Healthy side dishes include fruits, baked potatoes, and side salads. Boost their nutrition by having your choice topped with more veggies, chili, or salsa.
4. Watch Out For High Sodium Levels
If you’re strictly sticking to your diet, watch out for pickled and smoked food, as well as broths and juicy meats (au jus). For sauces, skip the teriyaki, cocktail, or soy. Ask the waiter if they have low-sodium soy sauce so they can use it on your order instead. Avoid MSG and too much salt. If you suppose the restaurant serves high-sodium dishes, ask for your order to be prepared without MSG or added salt.
5. Know Your Food Terminology
We’ve just mentioned pickled, smoked, broth, and au jus, all of which are high in sodium and are therefore unhealthy. Below are other terms you need to know to be able to stick to your healthy diet:
- Healthy selections (cooked with less fat)
- Unhealthy selections (contains saturated fat)
6. Don’t Hesitate to Ask
If you wish to customize your meal to make it healthier for you, don’t hesitate to ask the waiter if that’s possible. You can also ask the chef if they can make a special vegetarian or low-fat dish for you. If you’d like to know how a certain healthy dish in the menu is cooked, you can also ask your waiter about it.
Maintaining a healthy diet takes commitment, so your dine-out sessions cannot always be a cheat day. Practice ordering healthy food all the time, and perhaps your passion for eating healthy may inspire you to open a healthy food business franchise. With a restaurant of your own, you can spread your love for healthy eating and possibly influence others to do the same.