Dining out at a restaurant can be a source of anxiety or frustration when your goal is to eat healthy. Portions tend to be excessive, meaning you can end up eating more than you need. Plus it’s not always easy to see what goes into the food, and you can end up eating far more calories than you planned.
However, going out to eat doesn’t have to be stressful. You don’t have to exclude yourself from social affairs involving food just because you choose to eat healthily. Here are some of the ways you can dine out while still sticking to a healthy eating plan.
Check The Menu Beforehand
Checking the menu before you set out can be useful. That way you have some idea of what to expect, if it’s a place you’ve never dined at before. As you can see from the online Golden Corral menu, some restaurants will include a calorie count next to their dishes which can be incredibly useful for healthy eaters. Others will have a ‘healthy’ or ‘light bites’ section – a good menu to order from since those dishes are less likely to be fried or covered in calorie-rich cheese or creamy sauces.
Ask What’s In a Dish
If you’re unsure (or it’s unclear from the menu), don’t be afraid to ask your server what’s in certain dishes and how they’re cooked. Find out if things are baked or fried, or if additional oils and other ingredients are added. This allows you to make a more informed decision, and means you don’t end up being presented with something a lot less healthy than you thought.
Switch Out Your Side
Most restaurants will offer a side of potatoes with their dishes, usually fries. However, if you ask when you order, many will be happy to accommodate if you ask for salad or vegetables instead. If you really fancy the starch, go with a baked potato – and skip the sour cream – or brown rice.
Don’t Be Afraid To Customize
Again if you ask nicely most restaurants will be happy to make adjustments for you. For example, if a dish looks relatively healthy but is smothered in cheese or sauce, ask to have yours made without. You could even ask for sauceson the side so you can add just a little if you want to, without going overboard on calories. And always ask for salad dressing on the side as most restaurants tend to drench the greens.
Beware of Starters, Desserts, and Drinks
Often restaurant portions are already bigger than what you need. Adding starters and desserts on top is unnecessary in most cases. Plus skipping them will save you massively on calories! If you want to go with the extra course, choose a starter instead of the dessert at the end and go for the freshest looking option. A tasty soup could work well, providing it’s not cream-based. Salad options are usually good – as long as they don’t include fried meats, bacon or cheese.
When the wine is flowing around the table, it’s okay to indulge in a single glass; after all one glass of red wine per day is actually quite healthy. But anymore than that, and you risk going overboard on calories. So stick to one glass of wine instead of a mixed drink and you’ll save on masses of calories and won’t wake up with a sore head!