Healthy Habits for Dining Out
Tuesday, 7pm and your child just finished soccer practice; time for fast food burgers. Friday, 5pm and you’re not cooking tonight; so you hit a local diner. Sunday, noon and it’s your mom’s birthday; celebration at an Italian restaurant. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. On average, one out of every three meals is eaten away from home.
With our fast-paced lifestyles, dining out is almost always the most convenient option. But with restaurant supersized portions and hidden calories, this seemingly innocent convenience has had a definite impact on the rates of overweight and obesity in this country. Restaurant meals almost always have more calories than you realize—and more calories than those in a meal you’d cook at home—and if you’re not careful, those calories can sabotage your weight loss eating plan. That’s not to say you can’t eat out and stick to a healthy diet at the same time. You just need to be smart about it.
With that in mind, here are 7 simple health tips to help you make the best choices to stay in line with your weight loss diet when dining out. After all, you want the efforts you put in during your full body workout at Curves ladies only gym to stick, and the best way to do that is to maintain a healthy eating plan.
Do Your Research
Most chain restaurants post menu nutrition information online for those counting calories or simply trying to follow a healthy meal plan. Some even post it directly on the menu. For non-chain restaurants, don’t assume that you can judge a meal’s nutritional content based on its title. You’ll often find that even healthy-sounding meals like “taco salad”, “veggie burger”, and “stir fry” are loaded with calories.
Think About Your Drink
Liquid calories—empty calories—won’t fill you up the same way that solid calories do, and they add up quickly, so it’s best to avoid caloric drinks altogether. Instead, try to stick with water or unsweetened tea.
Avoid Appetizers & Complimentary Carbs
If you want something before your meal, play it safe with a green salad with dressing on the side, or a broth-based soup. If the waiter or waitress offers a breadbasket or other complimentary app, refuse.
Divide Your Meal in Half
Most restaurant entrees have enough calories for at least two people—definitely not in line with a weight loss eating plan. So, share the meal with a friend or take half home for later or lunch the next day. It’s a good idea to ask for a takeaway box and split the meal as soon as the food comes to the table, so you aren’t tempted to finish it mindlessly.
Order Protein Prepared Properly
Your best bet is a lean protein like chicken breast, fish, shellfish, tenderloin or sirloin. Then, make sure it’s broiled, grilled or baked—not fried.
Sidestep Dressings & Sauces
Salads should be the healthiest items on the menu but watch the dressing and toppings. Ask for dressing on the side and use it sparingly, and don’t be afraid to ask them to omit the high-calorie salad toppings like bacon bits, cheese, tortilla chips, croutons or fried wontons. Also make sure to steer clear of creamy sauces like gravy, Alfredo or anything that includes the word “butter.”
We all need a sweet treat every once in a while, but a restaurant dessert is usually not the best way to go to satisfy that craving. If you are going to order a dessert, go for fresh fruit sorbets or sherbets. Another option is to split a regular dessert with everyone at the table.
Following a weight loss eating plan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal away from home; it just means you have to be smart about the choices you make. The Curves Nutrition Program can help simplify life and healthy eating choices. With customizable meal plans for women, one-on-one coaching, and the Curves full body workout, you’ll be well supported in your weight loss plan. If you are a Curves member, talk to your coach about the Nutrition Program today! If there’s no Curves near you, that’s no problem! Virtual memberships are available online and include a Curves Coach for weekly group calls.