I know in today’s fast paced world it is hard to actually sit down and have a family meal, let alone a healthy family meal. Between work, traffic, running kids to; games, dance practice and making it to small group Bible study at your church, there is just not enough time in the day. The answer many times is just to grab a bite to eat while you are out and running around.
Unfortunately, eating outside of the home can wreak havoc on your quest to transform your body into Your Best Body Ever. Did you know the average restaurant meal has over 1,000 calories (and that is without Supersizing anything.) That’s enough to sabotage any eating and workout program you may have going.
Fortunately, by following a few simple guidelines, you can dine out without having to sacrifice good taste and nutrition.
Avoid ordering an appetizer
It’s a little known fact that some appetizers have more calories and fat than the main course. Plus, many appetizers are fried and served with heavy sauces which will add to your intake of saturated fat as well as trans fats and calories. It’s not a healthy way to start your meal.
Say “yes” to salad
Salad is a healthy eater’s best friend. Not only will it fill you up so you’ll consume fewer calories overall, but it will also give you a hefty dose of antioxidants which are heart healthy. Be sure to ask your waitress to hold the croutons and cheese which will further reduce your caloric load. Also, choose your dressing wisely. Avoid cream based dressings and go for the vinegar based ones. You also have the option of using vinegar and olive oil which is heart healthy. You may also opt for asking the waiter / waitress to put the dressing on the side and you can dip your fork into the dressing instead of lathering up the salad with unnecessary calories.
Choose wisely for the main event
Go for broiled and grilled rather than fried. Not only will you save calories and fat grams, you’ll also avoid trans fats which are so prevalent in fried foods. Instead, consider asking for a doubles order of vegetables with your entree. Very few Americans are getting the 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables recommended for optimal health. Plus, by avoiding the starch, you’ll be reducing your caloric and carbohydrate load. Also, stick to tomato based sauces rather than cream based and you’ll enjoy a considerable calorie savings. Lastly, ask for the sauce to be served in a separate dish on the side so you can control the amount you eat.
Be careful with your beverage choice
By not ordering an alcoholic beverage, you’ve saved yourself a considerable number of calories. Try sipping iced tea (a natural diuretic) sweetened with a noncaloric sweetener, a diet soft drink, or water with lemon. You’ll be glad you did when you consider the calorie savings.
Have dessert in moderation
Many restaurants now offer a low fat or low carbohydrate dessert selection such as a low sugar cakes or pies. These are wise choices for the health conscious eater and still allow you to end the meal on a sweet note. You can always ask for a fruit platter to make those sweet cravings go away.
Learn to control your portions
Our society has adopted the “more is better mantra.” To stay with the times, restaurants are now serving larger quantities of food than they did 20-25 years ago. If this is the case, ask for a carry out container at the beginning of your meal and place half of your entrée in the container before you begin your meal. If it is out of sight in the beginning, you won’t be tempted to clean off your plate and eat too much in one sitting.
By going into the restaurant with a game plan, you can not only save time, but you can save yourself a considerable amount of calories and hopefully not negate your nutrition and exercise efforts throughout the day.