I often get asked whats the best way to navigate eating out? The reality is that in today's fast paced society, its something that we can't avoid in most cases. Research shows that the average person eats almost 60% of their meals these days by either dining out, take out or fast food. When I talk to people about eating I always preach to seek out 1 ingredients foods so out of these 3 options the option of choice if you're going to eat out is to sit down at a restaurant.
Eating at a restaurant doesn't have to sabotage your healthy diet.
Here are 7 easy tips on how to navigate when you eat out:
1) Think ahead. Consider meal options at different restaurants and look for places with a wide range of menu items. Check online menus, if available, for nutrition information ahead of time.
2) Have a plan. Eat a light dinner if you ate a big lunch that day. Or, if you know ahead of time that you're going to a restaurant, plan to have lighter meals during the day. Knowing menu terms and cooking basics makes ordering easier, especially if you have special dietary needs.
3) Eliminate the menu. We often get distracted when we are hungry and need some food and first sit down. Often we start with the appetizers and then the drinks. By the time our entree' arrives to the table, we have already had enough calories and don't really need anymore. Keep it simple by asking the server to bring you a single protein choice and a couple sides of veggies. No need to even open the menu.
4) Control portions. Many restaurants serve huge portions, sometimes enough for two or three people. Eat a smaller portion and bring leftovers home for another meal. Or, order an appetizer in place of an entrée and add a small soup or salad.
5) Be deliberate when ordering. Balance your meal by including healthier selections from all the different food groups such as lean protein foods, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Look for freshly made entrée salads that give you "balance in a bowl." For example, entrée salads with baked or grilled chicken, beans or seafood provide protein along with fiber and other nutrients. Ask for dressing on the side so you can control the portion size.
For sandwich toppings, go with veggie options including lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion; if using condiments, choose ketchup, mustard, relish or salsa. Round out your meal by ordering healthy side dishes, such as a side salad or fruit.
6) Substitute. Ask for a side salad with dressing on the side to replace fries in a combination meal. Many restaurants honor requests, so don't be afraid to be assertive, ask menu questions and make special requests to meet your nutritional needs.
7) Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. Fast eaters often are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.
Restaurants may be intimidating to people trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but with preparation and confidence you can enjoy your restaurant meal without abandoning healthy eating.
Please join us on September 26th at 6:30pm for our next Dinner With The Doc where we will be digging into the issues that cause weight gain and much more. Go to: www.myanthemhealth.com/events to register.
Yours in Better Health....
Dr Brian Hester
Back to Health of Anthem
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