How many times do you go out to eat each month? The average American frequents restaurants approximately five times per week, so if you fall anywhere in that range, you’re looking at about 20 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at eateries over the course of a 30-day period. That’s a lot of calorie landmines that could destroy your efforts to stick with a healthy diet.
Trying to cut out restaurant outings is probably not the most logical solution. After all, eating out offers a chance to catch up with friends, spend quality time with family, and celebrate special occasions. Plus, sometimes you just need a break from cooking day in and day out.
If you want to enjoy a restaurant meal and keep your figure trim, take a look at these tips for eating healthy no matter what kind of eatery you frequent.
1. Make It A Burger, Not A Cheeseburger
One of the easiest ways to limit your calorie and fat intake when eating out is to avoid cheese products. You don’t have to deny yourself that juicy burger, just ask for it without cheese. The same goes for other dishes that might come slathered in cheddar, Swiss, or mozzarella.
2. Even Better, Make It A Chicken Sandwich
Red meat is an excellent source of protein, but if you’re watching calories, you may want to opt for a lighter meat choice. Chicken and turkey make healthy substitutes for beef, so to keep your calories from adding up, get the turkey burger or a grilled chicken sandwich.
3. Avoid French Fries
“A burger and fries, please!” The phrase just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? We won’t deny that French fries make the perfect burger sidekick, but that golden goodness comes with a price. Namely, an unpleasant surprise the next time you get on the scale.
Most restaurants offer multiple side options for their entrees, so instead of getting French fries, ask for a side salad, steamed veggies, or a fruit cup.
4. Request Dressings On the Side
It’s been said time and time again, but it bears repeating: a salad does not automatically constitute a healthy meal. Bacon bits, shredded cheese, and creamy dressings can turn that healthy salad into a calorie bomb.
If you want a salad, keep in mind that a restaurant can easily take off whatever ingredients you don’t want. After all, it’s made just moments after you order it – and if you suspect that your salad is pre-made, take your business to another restaurant!
If you keep the high-calorie meat, cheese, and dressings off your salad, you can also keep the extra pounds off your hips.
5. Share Your Meal
How many times have you pushed back from your table so full that you feel uncomfortable? It’s likely because you’re eating two to three times more than an average dinner serving. Restaurant portions have steadily grown over the years.
You might be getting your bang for the buck, but you’re also eating far more calories than is healthy. If you and another member of your dining party want the same dish, split a single order. If the restaurant doesn’t allow meal sharing, which sometimes happens, eat only half the food on your plate. To make sure that you don’t inadvertently chow down on more of your meal than intended, ask for a doggy bag when you order and put away half once you are served.
Really, it’s a win-win situation. Just imagine how happy you’ll be when you remember the following day that you have a delicious meal waiting for you in the fridge!
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