If you’re like most of us, your week consists of putting in long days at the office, shuttling kids to various activities, sweating through a few workouts, and still finding the energy to cook a healthy dinner. When the weekend finally arrives, it’s only natural to want to relax and let someone else deal with the dinner mess for a change.
Here are some ways to make sure that eating away from home doesn’t mean taking in a few thousand extra calories.
Be sure to take our Skinny Restaurant Challenge.
Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
We all know that restaurant portion sizes can be huge, but somehow we continue to clean our plates anyway. Try sharing your meal with a family member, or better yet, ask for a to-go box and set half of your food aside before you’ve even taken a bite. Stick your extra portion in the freezer at home for a quick dinner on one of those nights when you just don’t have time to cook. Click here to learn about portion sizes.
Swap Your Side
Most restaurants will allow patrons to substitute side dishes for healthier options. If it’s not advertised on the menu, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Substitute a side of steamed vegetables for that mound of French fries, or ask for a bowl of fresh fruit to take the place of that loaded baked potato.
Take a Pass on the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet
The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet may sound like a good investment, but do you really need to eat four separate dinners? Plus, buffet food doesn’t taste all that good, either.
Beware of Dressings and Sauces
Don’t hesitate to ask for your dressing or sauce on the side. Restaurants tend to drown meals in rich buttery sauces and creamy dressings. Better yet, try substituting red sauce for white, or balsamic vinaigrette for Ranch dressing.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
Sodas and alcoholic beverages are what we call “empty” calories, meaning they are full of calories, but offer no nutritional value. Save your calories for something a little more filling and order a glass of iced water with a slice of lemon or lime.
Want some more tips for how to eat healthy when you’re on the go? Here are some Tips for Navigating the Chinese Take-out Menu.