Healthy Tips for Dining Out

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Diet, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Going out to eat can be a real treat. You don’t have to cook, you can opt for dishes you wouldn’t normally make at home, and it’s nice to get out every now and again. But if you’re not careful, you may be getting a whole lot more than you bargained for.

For instance, did you know that a typical restaurant meal contains around 60 percent more calories than homemade meals? Or that more than three-quarters of the 4,000 mg of sodium we eat daily comes from restaurant fare and processed foods? Couple these unhealthy statistics with the fact that most portions found in a single restaurant dish could serve two, three, even four people and you’ve got a real problem.

The good news is it is possible to eat sensibly at your favorite restaurant. Here are a few healthy tips for dining out.

  • Don’t go into a restaurant when you are starving. Try eating a small snack beforehand to take the edge off.
  • Drink a full glass of water before you eat your meal. Studies show that this simple step helps you feel full so you eat less.
  • Many restaurants serve chips or bread as a starter. Send these away from the table to avoid temptation.
  • Ask questions about how food is prepared and request substitutions.
  • Choose items that are grilled, sautéed, baked, or broiled as opposed to breaded or fried. Instead of creamy, rich side dishes or starch-riddled rice and potatoes, ask for steamed vegetables.
  • Order all dressings and sauces on the side and use sparingly.
  • Share an entrée or immediately upon receiving your meal ask for a to-go container and place half the portion in the box for later.
  • Just say no to dessert.

I hope you will put these tips to good use. Feel free to pass this information along to family and friends so they too can eat healthy while dining out.
 

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