How to Enjoy Your Restaurant Experience without Breaking Your Healthy Habits
Cooking at home every night can be quite a drag, especially if you ate out regularly in the past. Some people find eating out difficult because they are afraid of succumbing to temptation and breaking the healthy food diet they're on. However, it is possible to both eat out and stay true to your commitment to healthy eating. Simply follow the tips below, and get ready to enjoy your eating excursions without the after-guilt.
Plan ahead for trips
It's important to plan your meals ahead of time, particularly so if you're going on a trip (when you'll be eating out multiple times). Check with the restaurant/hotel to see if if they allow you to carry a few things to keep you eating clean, such as Celtic sea salt to season your food with in place of the regular white table salt. You can also create a sea-salt-and-herb blend with your favourite herbs to infuse additional flavours to your meal naturally. Carry your own healthy teas and ask for hot water in your hotel room instead of choosing caffeinated teas or coffees at the restaurant after the meal.
Choose restaurants deliberately
As you scan online for restaurant options, look to see if they have online menus, so you can look up meals' nutritional information in advance. Choose restaurants that serve a-la-carte meals so that you can substitute rich or unhealthy ingredients for healthier ones where possible. Many hoteliers are kind if you explain that you're trying to stick to healthy eating habits, and can make some concessions for you, even if they usually don't.
Eat healthy before the outing
For the one-time outings when you're at home, balance out your day by choosing healthier foods during the day to allow you a little more leeway to indulge when you're out. Make your breakfast and lunch leaner by sticking to steaming, baking, grilling or broiling, and cutting back on high-calorie foods like carbohydrates and red meats. That way, you can guiltlessly enjoy a healthy dessert at the end of the evening.
Understand menu items
You can ask the waiter to show you which foods are cooked healthy, but it's also good to understand what menu terms mean. For instance, avoid fried and sautéed options or those captioned as 'au gratin' (a rich topping made with egg, butter, grated cheese and breadcrumbs), 'crispy', 'fried' or 'rich'.
Balance your plate by ordering enough protein (lean and white meats) and vegetables. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy where applicable, and generous servings of vegetables. If you're counting calories, skip salad dressings or choose low-fat dressings with healthy oils. You can skip extras like bread and croutons with soups. Make your side dishes healthy, e.g., choosing baked potatoes rather than French fries, side salads or fruit.