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3 Simple Strategies for Dining Out on Your Favorite Foods

Dining Out

 

Dining out is an opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family, try new dishes, and give your home cooking a break. Unfortunately,

dining out frequently can have negative effects on your health. Research shows that most restaurant meals are filled with excess calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats. And while you can’t avoid going out to eat forever, there are ways to make any dining experience healthier.

Eating at restaurants need not be a health hazard. The key is to proactively plan what you will order before you get there. Here are some strategies for dining out on your favorite foods so that it doesn’t impact your weight or health negatively.

Go for protein

When dining out, go for protein-rich meals like grilled fish or chicken. The key is to find protein sources that are not fried or covered in sauce. This can be challenging, but you can find healthier options at most restaurants. – Vegetable and bean-based dishes are a good choice. They are high in fiber, low in calories and saturated fat, and relatively inexpensive. – Grilled or baked fish and seafood are also good protein sources.

Just be sure to avoid fried fish and go for white fish if possible. – Meats should be limited, as they are high in calories and saturated fat. Choose smaller portions, or get a side salad instead of the fries. – Avoid foods that are high in sodium, such as cured meats, and go for low-fat dairy products. Ask for no cheese and plain milk when possible.

Watch the sides

Sides can be high in calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Avoid rice, potatoes, and fries, which are usually fried and high in sodium. Instead, choose salads, vegetables, beans, or plain yogurt as sides. If you must have fries, choose a smaller portion.

You can also try baked or sweet potato fries, which are lower in calories and sodium. If you want rice, choose brown rice, which has more fiber and nutrients than white rice and is lower in calories. Finally, baked, roasted, or mashed potatoes are lower in sodium than fried potatoes.

Order greens and veggies

Diets that are high in vegetables are associated with a lower risk of obesity and chronic diseases. And when dining out, you can get in your greens and other veggies by ordering a salad with dressing on the side, or a vegetable side dish.

Others include baked potatoes with salsa, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans served plain or with lemon. If you want to include grain, choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or whole wheat pasta.

Check the menu before you go

Before you visit a restaurant, research their menu online to see what they serve. This can be helpful when you’re with friends who want to go to a place you know is unhealthy. You can make a healthier choice if you have time to plan.

If you have any allergies or food restrictions, check the menu to see if they have options for you. This can be challenging, but most restaurants will try to accommodate your needs to some extent if you ask.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

If you don’t like the options on the menu, or the portions are too large, don’t be afraid to ask for a substitution or to have your meal prepared differently.

People working in restaurants want you to be satisfied with your meal, so they will often be happy to accommodate your needs as long as you ask.

If you want to order a healthier meal but are worried about offending the other people at the table, ask if they would be okay with you ordering something different. The people you are eating with will likely be happy to support your goals, and they may even want to try a healthier dish themselves.

Final Words

Dining out is unavoidable, but you can make healthier choices. Be mindful of portion sizes and try to choose lower-calorie, lower-sodium options whenever possible. Avoid fried foods and high-sugar desserts and beverages.

If you want dessert, choose something low in calories, such as sorbet or fruit. If you want to enjoy a beverage other than water, choose a diet soda or sparkling water. If you have a favorite dish at a particular restaurant, try to eat it at least once a week. You can enjoy your favorite foods while still making healthier choices by following these simple strategies.

Dining Out

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