One of the number one rules of eating healthy is to eat at home. When you eat at home you have control over how your food is prepared, what you are eating, portion size and making sure your ingredients are geared to your own needs and preferences. You can keep the sodium low, the fat healthy, calories down and use the freshest ingredients. However, even for those of us who enjoy cooking and eating the majority of meals at home, there are times when you just want to go out.
I’ll be honest here and say I don’t particularly enjoy cooking for only two people. This summer there have been many nights when it is just The Husband and me. While we do put something simple on the grill or even throw together what we have on hand, I think The Husband would rather just go out. We have about five local restaurants that we go to on a regular basis. We are not always very creative, and as I’ve said earlier, easily fall into our rut. The good thing about that rut is that I’ve gotten used to these menus and know what I like to order to keep my dinners mostly light and healthy. I also have a few things I usually do that I’ll share.
Here are some tips for making good choices when eating out.
- One of my main habits is to stick to a salad and the appetizer menu. I find that a salad and an appetizer as my entree is plenty of food. There is usually a couple of appetizer options that are similar to something on the entree list, just smaller. This way you get in your salad, greens/vegetables, and something with protein or more substantial, without the massive portions provided at most restaurants.
- If there is nothing catching my eye on the appetizer section, then by all means order from the entree portion, but think about healthy substitutions for the pasta, potato or rice sides that may be included.
- If ordering from the entree portion of the menu, don’t forget to take home the leftovers! I’ll bet there is way more food than you can (or should) eat on your plate! Take half home!
- Forget the bread. Don’t even let it come to the table!
- Alway order salad dressing on the side. And NEVER use all that dressing – even if you think it’s a light one!
Now that you have some easy tips to think about when ordering, what about making the best choices at your favorite restaurant? Sometimes it can be overwhelming to try to think about eating healthy and making the best choices when you are at an Italian or Mexican restaurant. Well, there is always something good you can eat at most any type of restaurant.
Here are some good options at most types of restaurants:
American – A turkey, veggie or grass fed burger is a great choice. Order it with NO bun, veggies on the side and a side salad, with a Tablespoon of a vinaigrette dressing.
Mexican – Chicken or shrimp fajitas WITHOUT the flour tortillas with onions and peppers and one Tablespoon guacamole OR a taco salad with black beans and NO shell.
Thai – Papaya salad with Steamed Shrimp with vegetables with 2 Tablespoons curry sauce on the side OR chicken satay with 1 Tablespoon sauce.
Italian – House salad with dressing on the side with 1 cup minestrone soup OR Grilled fish or seafood with side of broccoli or other vegetable side.
Japanese – Green salad with dressing on the side OR seaweed salad with sashimi like tuna, salmon or yellowtail and edamame.
These are tips for your normal meal – NOT a special occasion! If you are eating out as a special occasion or with friends or family, by all means treat yourself! Food is how we celebrate and socialize, so when it’s that time, please eat, drink and be merry!
Enjoy Your Day!