Dining out can be a real challenge if you're trying to maintain a healthy diet. It's not just the temptation to indulge in high-calorie foods that can make it difficult, but the added fats, sugars, and sodium in restaurant meals can quickly derail your nutrition goals. But with a few healthy dining out guidelines, you can easily enjoy a meal out and stay on track.
- Research the restaurant or fast food outlet's menu and nutrition information beforehand. This can enable a person to make informed decisions on the best food options to order. Most restaurants have their menus online, which makes it easier for individuals to plan what they will eat beforehand. Some restaurants may even post nutrition information, such as calorie counts or ingredients, on their menus, making it easier for one to monitor what they consume.
- Choose lean protein options like chicken, turkey, or fish that are grilled, baked, or steamed rather than deep-fried or breaded.
- Healthy sides like steamed vegetables, raw salads, or seafood can be good alternatives to high-calorie options such as fries, creamy sauces or dressings, and sweetened beverages.
- Additionally, when dining out, ordering smaller portions such as appetizers can help control portions and calorie intake. Most restaurants serve oversized portions, so consider sharing your dish with a friend, or ask for a to-go box and save half the meal for later.
- Don't hesitate to customize your order to ensure it's healthy. Ask the chef to use olive oil or vegetable oil instead of butter, hold the dressing or sauce or ask for it on the side to limit consumption.
- Pay attention to your beverage choices. Avoid alcohol, soda or sweetened beverages, and instead, choose water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime.
Dining out can be an opportunity to indulge in various cuisines and flavors while staying healthy. By planning menus beforehand, ordering healthier options, and asking for modifications to suit individual preferences, dining out can be a good option for a healthy lifestyle. With the right strategy and planning, one can enjoy healthy food while dining out, which can help support their health goals.
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