When dining out, do you know which dishes are loaded with calories, fat, and preservatives?
Unlike grocery items, ready-to-eat meals in a restaurant don’t have nutrition labels informing you about their calorie or fat content. They may contain ingredients that can sabotage your health, such as excessive butter, salt, sugar, and oil. That is why you must be clever when choosing where to dine out.
1. Check the menu online
Before heading to a specific restaurant, you must know what you are getting into. The key is to check their menu online. Look for keywords or symbols that indicate items as healthy. These include:
- Fresh ingredients – Healthy restaurants offer dishes made with the freshest ingredients. Fresh means unprocessed. It also implies that the food hasn’t been sitting long on the shelf.
- High-quality meat – Healthy restaurants offer the highest quality meat cuts, such as Kobe beef and wagyu. It is among the few things that differentiate a healthy steakhouse from other dining establishments.
- Gluten-free – Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. Though avoiding it is unnecessary, you may need to adhere to a gluten-free diet if you have gluten intolerance or other digestive disorders.
- Vegan – A food is considered vegan if it does not contain animal products and is made from unprocessed plants like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
A restaurant that prepares all these healthy options is your best choice.
2. Choose sourdough bread
If you’re into bread or you want a guilt-free snack, order sourdough varieties.
Sourdough is among the most preferred bread choices because of its distinct baking method. It does not require yeast to rise. Instead, it is kneaded with a live fermented culture of flour and water. The fermentation process makes the sourdough easier to digest and absorb.
3. Look at portion sizes
Most of the portion sizes restaurants offer are bigger than what you should consume. If you can’t control your meal size, eat only a small quantity. You can either split the dish and share it with someone, or take the other half home to eat the next day.
But you should also be cautious when going for small plates. This can be a good way of trying out different dishes, but you may lose track of how much you must eat. The key is to order some protein-packed plates, a few vegetables, and only a bit of the more indulgent dishes.
4. Drink smart
Water remains the best beverage to quench your thirst. But you can also indulge in other healthy drinks, such as low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, fresh fruit juices, and freshly brewed coffee. Avoid beverages that contain lots of sugar and more calories than your meal.
5. Avoid dining out when you are too hungry
If you go to a restaurant starving, chances are, you will order and eat more than what your body needs. So if you are overly hungry before heading to the restaurant, take a small snack first, like a piece of fruit. You can order a small Eden garden salad or a cup of soup.
6. Ask for healthy options
Don’t hesitate to ask your server to make your meal healthier. For instance, ask if they can exchange the usual chips or fries with a salad. You can also request them to prepare your food with less oil or cut your drink’s sugar content.
Moreover, ask if you can order “off-menu”. For instance, ask what vegan or gluten-free dish they can prepare for you or if it is possible to remove some ingredients from the dish. Most healthy restaurants are more than willing to comply.
Dining out does not have to be unhealthy. With adequate preparation and savvy revisions, you can enjoy meals that are as nutritious as home-cooked dishes and made with fresh and high-quality ingredients.