Eating Out at Restaurants

food_services_highway_signs_collection_poster-r8546094f738a4b77a66606d5968a2bbc_i13_400While cooking your own meals is definitely the easiest way to eat healthy, making a few simple choices when eating out at restaurants can also ensure that you are guilt-free afterward.

I eat out a couple times a week, and make sure that wherever I go either offers salads or other options that I’m willing to eat. If I’m planning ahead of time, I simply check menus online… and if I’m walking around then I just ask to see a menu before I’m seated. I realize that I’m lucky that I now live in a very health-oriented city, yet even when traveling it has become increasingly easy to make healthy eating choices by staying conscious of my decisions from the moment I walk into an eatery to when they ask if I want dessert (don’t even consider it!) The other thing I avoid at all costs is fast food; even the salads are from frozen ingredients and often include a ton of processed, high sodium ingredients. I generally opt to go for a pre-made supermarket or convenience store salad as a last resort, they’re usually more fresh and nutritious than from a fast food chain.

A lot of the time, something that is not considered healthy catches my eye when I peruse a menu. For example, this weekend a bagel with lox was tempting me at lunch one day. Bagels contain lots of processed grains and also come with incredibly fatty cream cheese to slather on, so I simply substituted a salad for the bagel when ordering. Then I had a relatively healthy, balanced meal that was flavorful and satisfying.

I wish I had taken a picture of the pretty pink salmon with round white onion and red tomato slices and bright green basil and capers on top, along with the vibrantly dark green salad that had heirloom tomatoes and other yummy veggies sprinkled throughout it! But I was too busy savoring my meal and enjoying the company of my husband.

In general, whatever diet I’m on when I eat at home I also stick to in a restaurant. For example, if I am not drinking alcohol or limiting myself to one drink at home, then I do the same when eating out. If I’m avoiding processed foods, I’ll try to do so no matter what. I’ve never really enjoyed salad dressing, so ordering salads without it is a habit that I didn’t need to learn when I started eating healthy, but it’s important to note that those dressings are generally extremely caloric and full of saturated fats.

Finally, watching portion sizes becomes more challenging at restaurants, which often serve food on gigantic plates that make big meals look small. But eating the right amount becomes increasingly easy, especially because when you need to leave half of the meal for the next day you can keep in mind that you get to enjoy it twice!

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