With football season starting up and holiday parties right around the corner, it is helpful to have some go-to healthy strategies for ordering food when you dine out. While eating at home will give you the most control over your nutrition, it can be hard to avoid going to a restaurant to watch the game or catch a meal while you travel this fall. With the simple tips below, you can reduce your guilt when you eat out and avoid packing on extra pounds for the season.
Order extra veggies
Most restaurant entrées treat vegetables more like a garnish than a side dish, but you can often add on extra steamed or grilled veggies for no additional charge. Even if there is a small surcharge for the extra side, you’ll be glad to have a little more fiber to fill you up and help you skip over the less healthy options on the table.
Keep cocktail orders simple
If dining out typically means ordering alcoholic refreshments, you will do best by picking no-frills options such as vodka and soda, light beer, or wine. Mixed cocktails like margaritas and fruity drinks tend to be packed with sugar, which means more empty calories.
Avoid the salad trap
It is easy to assume that salads will be the healthiest option on a restaurant menu, but salads can be highly deceptive. Additions like cheese, creamy salad dressings, fried chicken, and bacon can easily bring the calorie total for a salad over 1000. If you do order salad, ask for dressing on the side and opt for choices with healthier fats and protein like grilled fish, avocado, or slivered almonds.
Share food at the table
When you do want to order some higher calorie fare, consider splitting the dish with others at the table, or ask for a box at the beginning of the meal and pack half of the dish away to go. This will keep you from overindulging while still splurging on something special.
By remembering these tricks when you dine out, you can keep up a healthy diet on the go.