There are over 250,000 restaurants in the United States alone today, with over 2,000,000 in Nigeria and the number continues to grow. However, these establishments can be a health hazard if you aren’t careful with what you order. If you intend to eat out for whatever reasons, make a few changes to your order to contribute to your success in staying healthy. Eating out shouldn’t be your excuse to consume a lot of unhealthy foods that can cause you problems. Follow these tips to help you make healthy choices when eating out.
The first step to staying healthy when you eat is choosing the restaurant wisely. Choosing poorly will only contribute to your overall failure. Think about the place and what you will eat. It will be much easier to make healthy choices if you have already decided what you’re going to eat.
Give priority to those restaurants whose menu items contain a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You should also eat something light before heading to the restaurant. The idea is to avoid arriving at the place when you’re too hungry since it will be impossible to make healthy food choices.
Choosing Your Appetizers
If you are having an appetizer, make sure that it contains lots of vegetables, fish, and fruits. Avoid breaded or fried appetizers at all costs since they are high in calories. Edamame, lettuce cups, fresh-fruit compote, and shrimp cocktail also act as healthy appetizers when served with lemon.
Be Assertive when Ordering
Dining out is no time to be silent and wait for anything that is brought to you from the kitchen. You need to be assertive and request for changes on the menu to ensure that what you’re consuming is healthy.
Alter the menu and balance your order by including healthier selections from the various food groupings such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. For instance, order for veggie options such as tomato, lettuce, and onion when it comes to veggie options. You can round up your meal by asking for healthy side dishes such as baked potato or fruit.
Choose Your Beverages Carefully
Make water your number one beverage when eating out. Avoid sugar-sweetened soft drinks at all cost since they contain a high number of calories. Try sugar-free or low-sugar calorie beverages in case you don’t like the plain water. You should also avoid alcoholic drinks as they also contain a lot of calories.
Make all Your Meals Low in Fat
Before you order anything, find out how it was prepared. Typically, foods that are boiled, grilled, baked, steamed, or poached tend to be lower in fat as opposed to those that are fried. Limit your consumption of foods that come with a gravy or cream sauce. Instead, request the attendant to serve the cream sauce, gravy or butter on the side of your plate which will allow you to control how much of it you consume.
Control the Portions
Most of the restaurants serve huge portions which can be enough for up to three people. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to eat everything right there. You can order a full portion and share it with two or three people or if you’re alone, eat a small part of the portion and carry the remainder home.
That’s it!. See you next Tuesday on Nutrition. Don’t forge to subscribe.