Tips for Healthy Dining Out

Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 11:27 am



Unlike when I was growing up, dining out has become the norm these days, which can easily result in eating more calories from foods that are less healthy. 


Whether it’s a quick lunch on-the-go or a sit-down dinner at a restaurant, it’s useful to know how to choose the healthiest meal options available. 


Follow these tips to make dining out a healthy experience every time.


Avoid These Words: Instead Choose Foods That Are:
Battered, batter-dipped, tempura, crispy, fried, sautéed, and buttered.These words all mean fried foods that are loaded with saturated and possibly trans fats. Grilled, baked, steamed, poached, boiled, broiled, flame-cooked, roasted, and as a last resort if nothing else is available, then stir-fried.



Avoid Sauces with These Words: Instead Choose:
Creamy, roux, gravy, béarnaise, Mornay, buttered, mayonnaise, au gratin, sweetened.Avoid creamy sauces & dressings altogether because they are usually high in saturated fat and calories. Also avoid sauces with added sugar that use other names like honey glazed, sweet & sour, etc… Lemon or vinegar-based salad dressings and unsweetened vinaigrettes. For sauces, stick to wine-, thinned stock-, or tomato-based sauces.



Special Requests When Placing Your Order:


- Ask for all dressings and sauces (including those in sandwiches) on the side

- Ask that sandwiches and any breads not be buttered or have mayo

- Ask that steamed vegetables not be buttered afterwards. Ask for a wedge of lemon instead.

- Ask for brown rice and whole wheat breads instead of white counterparts whenever possible.

- Ask for a baked potato instead of mashed potatoes (usually mixed with butter)

- Ask to substitute french fries with a garden salad. If it’s not possible, then ask to remove the french fries to avoid any temptations.


The Bottom Line:


There are endless choices when ordering from a menu. 


The take home message is not to aim for perfection but to try to make the best choice possible given the situation you are in. 


And remember… it isn’t necessary to finish everything on your plate. 


Stop when you are full and take the rest home for later if you don’t want to throw away food.


What do you do to make dining out a healthy experience? I’d love to hear your tips and ideas.



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