It’s no secret that we all love to eat out at amazing restaurants — enjoying libations, appetizers, entrees, and tasty desserts — but we hate to gain weight because of it. Don’t we?! Healthy eating out is very difficult these days because restaurants try to make our meals exceptionally tasty and that means many hidden calories, through oil, butter, sugar, salt, and more. Much of our social and professional lives undoubtedly involve eating out, it’s simply a part of life! See how to stay skinny all winter long. So, without completely destroying our social lives, how do we continue to eat out without gaining weight and possibly actually lose weight?
Did you know that every meal away from home increases our average daily calorie count by about 135 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means that if we eat out 5 times a week — breakfast, lunch, or dinner all count — we stand to gain up to 10 pounds a year. What the … ! So, while we do recommend eating in as much as possible so that you can choose the highest quality, organic vegetables and quality meats and fish, we do nevertheless have some pretty fabulous healthy eating out tricks for you when a restaurant situation shan’t be avoided. Click here to see how to live a “detox lifestyle”. Without further ado, read on for 12 healthy eating out tips that will keep you from gaining weight at restaurants and perhaps even losing weight!
Editor’s Note: For additional support jump starting your weight loss this month, call La Jolla Wellness Studio about their “Weight Loss Package” (see special offer below).
Healthy Eating Out Tips
1. Fill Up On Lemon Water — Ask for a glass of water with lemon and drink the whole thing immediately. The server will refill and you can continue to sip your 2nd glass throughout dinner.
Lemon water is extremely important in the detoxification process, plus a large glass will instantly fill up your belly, causing you to feel satisfied sooner once you begin to eat your meal.
2. No Chips Or Bread — Oh, but how we love our chips and salsa and bread basket! They’re so hard to say no to though, so don’t even allow it on the table. Simply tell the server, “no thank you, we’ll pass on the bread”. Indulging in these empty, non-nutritional calories before you even start your meal will cause bloating and unwanted calories, which in turn equal weight gain.
3. Substitute Sides For Veggies — If your entree is served with french fries, greasy potatoes, toast, or mashed potatoes, ask your server if they can rather substitute for steamed vegetables or mixed greens. A healthy entree could easily add a few hundred more calories with an unhealthy side dish added to it.
4. Eat Out At Restaurants With Healthy Options — Do a little menu research online before choosing a restaurant. If you can tell that a restaurant doesn’t offer foods you should be eating, e.g. vegetables and fruit or free range chicken, then don’t eat there! Please! There are plenty of restaurants around that will support your healthy eating out needs.
5. Choose Grilled/Steam/Broiled — Always! If you’re ordering a lovely piece of wild caught salmon and you see that it’s sauteed, ask if the chef can rather grill it for you. Sauteing adds several hundred more calories and lots of fat because of all the oil that’s used in the pan…and the oil used is most likely low quality vegetable or canola oil. Yuck! And, never order your meat fried!
6. Investigate Your Menu Item — If you see that your fish is served with a cream or butter sauce, ask that the chef serve it plain. If your vegetables are served sauteed in butter, ask that they be prepared steamed with nothing on them. Does your steak come with fried onion rings on it? Tell the server to skip the crispy toppings.
7. It’s Okay To Be Annoying — Don’t be afraid to ask the server to make substitutions. It’s their job to make your meal the way you ask for to be made…even if that involves a little eye rolling.
8. Don’t Inhale Your Food — Seriously, you need to chew your food and really enjoy each bite so that your body actually recognizes when you are satisfied. If you gulp down your food mindlessly, you may eat more than you should, and you’ll feel very full later. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your body is full…yes, we’ve all heard it before, but have you listened?!
9. Skip Dessert — But obviously! Unless you are sharing with 5 other people, consuming a high sugar or high fat dessert after your meal is disastrous! Just think about the calories you just added to your lunch or dinner…probably at least 500…and those are going straight to your muffin top.
10. Skip The Alcohol — When possible, drink water with your meal. Even a 6 oz glass of red wine has 150 calories, and if you consume 2 glasses of Merlot with dinner, that’s an additional 300 calories. Now, if you’re drinking high sugar mixed drinks like a margarita, you could be drinking over 650 calories vs. a margarita on the rocks which has 450 calories. Ouch! But, if you must have a margarita, enjoy one at Puesto Mexican Street Food as their margaritas are all made from scratch, sweetened with agave, and without powdered mixers and sweeteners.
11. Share — Portion sizes have gotten completely out of control at restaurants! Entrees come with 8 oz salmons and 10 oz steaks, when in reality, we should only be eating a 3 to 4 oz piece of meat. If the piece of meat you’re eating is larger than the palm of your hand, think about splitting it with your friend. Because, that’s all you need! If you think you need more, order a salad or broth soup as your appetizer. Craving a burger? Split it (or quarter it) with friends or cut it in half and take the rest home; skip the cheese; and loose the bun.
12. Order Dressing On The Side (Or Not At All) — A salad could be a healthy choice, but some salads are loaded with cheese, croutons, crispies, nuts, and fatty salad dressing. Ask to have your dressing on the side so that you know how much you will be consuming. Or, ask for vinegar, lemon, and olive oil on the side and create your own, unadulterated dressing with the portion size that you know you actually need.