We frequently emphasize the importance of meal-prepping at home. It gives you the opportunity to know what you’re eating. Preparing nutritious meals yourself will ensure that you’re getting exactly what you need, and nothing more. While it is true that healthy home-cooked meals are your best route for weight loss, there are ways to eat healthy when dining out, as well.
Assuming that you have prepared some of your own healthy meals before, you’re probably at least vaguely familiar with what to do and what not to do. The same basic rules will apply any time you’re eating at a restaurant. If you’re new to cooking, that’s okay too. These healthy-eating tips will act as a guide for you whether you’re dining out or in!
8 Ways to Eat Healthy When Dining Out
1. Order water
Ordering water in place of sugary beverages will save you from consuming excess calories. Aside from the drinks alone, consuming plenty of water before and during your meal will also suppress your appetite, greatly reducing total caloric intake.
2. Go first
Have you ever been at a restaurant with friends, fully intent on sticking to your diet, when one of your pals suddenly decides that she’s going to have the big bowl of cream-sauce-laden pasta? Studies have shown that the choices others make (especially around the dinner table) greatly influence our own decisions. If you order your healthy meal first, you won’t be swayed to stray from your diet!
3. Pick a protein-based meal
Protein is one of the most beneficial macronutrients when it comes to weight loss. It requires more energy from the body during digestion and keeps your cravings in check. Skip the white pasta and choose a main course of chicken, fish, turkey, or even legumes.
Related: Top Plant-Based Proteins
4. Pay close attention to how the food is prepared
You’re going to want to avoid any menu options that are described as pan-fried, deep-fried, creamy, crispy, crunchy, or sautéed. These terms usually mean that the food is higher in calories. On the other hand, terms like baked, boiled, grilled, poached, roasted, and steamed typically mean the dish will have fewer calories.
5. Make healthy swaps
If you’re looking for a lower-carb meal, most restaurants these days are extremely accommodating when it comes to making healthy swaps. Skip the bread, potatoes, and pasta and ask for a side salad, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, or any other nutritious, low-carb green instead!
6. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side
You would be amazed at how many extra calories can be found in sauces and dressings. You don’t have to eat bland food, but ordering these things on the side will give you control of how much you use. On a side note, you may also want to ask for light or no seasoning on foods like chicken and steak. This will help reduce water retention and keep your belly flat!
7. Share the dish or save a portion for tomorrow
Portion control is one of the single most important and beneficial factors when it comes to healthy eating. As the years have gone by, portion sizes have doubled (and even triple in some places). This increase in food has also led to an epidemic of overeating. One way to keep yourself from falling victim to monstrous portion sizes is to split your meal with someone at your table or box up half of it immediately. Trust me; you’ll be glad you didn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting!
8. Put your fork down between bites
Putting your fork down between bites will help you learn to chew (and enjoy) your food more. Eating slowly gives your stomach time to tell your brain when you’re full, keeping you from eating too much! Chewing thoroughly also improves digestion and helps you soak up vital nutrients. This tip is one of my favorites because it’s just as simple as it is beneficial to your weight-loss goals!
Helpful Healthy Eating Tips No Matter Where You Are
These tips can be utilized whether you’re cooking at home or going out to eat. Making healthy eating choices, day in and day out, no matter where you are will transform your body and help you achieve all of your weight loss goals!