Eating out can be such a rewarding and fun experience—we get to be with our friends and loved ones, experience a good healthy laugh and much needed togetherness. However, you may find yourself worried about how to make choices that are in line with your health goals. Checking the menu before you go is key to making more informed choices, but here are some easy swaps to keep in mind.
1. Choose veggies over bread. Start your meal with veggies, order a salad or veggie appetizer to start with instead of bread. When we fill up with fiber-filled foods, we often feel full much sooner, leaving you feeling a lot better at the end of your meal.
2. Choose water, sparkling water or unsweetened tea with lemon instead of sugary sodas or juices.
3. Know your sauces. If you like a saucy dish, try looking for a sauce that is made with vegetables instead of heavy creams or butters. White sauces are usually filled with creams, butters, and inflammatory oils, while red sauces will be filled with more vegetables and less sugar.
4. Choose dressing wisely. Dressings have a LOT of additives and are often made with sugars, additives and soybean or canola oil NOT olive oil. Ask your server about dressings, try to choose a vinaigrette made with olive oil to swap for the creamy dressing or ask for oil and vinegar and add a pinch of salt and pepper.
5. Request avocado instead of mayo. To save money, the mayo that is served in restaurants is often full of inflammatory oils like soybean or canola oil. Making the swap to avocado will provide you with healthy fats that will help you feel fuller longer.
6. Choose wine over cocktails. While both have calories and sugar, wine is a better choice. If you find that wine leaves you with a headache or not feeling well, ask if they serve sulfite-free wine. It can make a big difference!
7. Skip fried foods. Swap fried foods for baked, broiled or sauteed foods. These healthier cooking styles are much lower in fat and calories, and are a more heart-healthy option.
8. Ask for a box early. Sometimes when we eat socially, we tend to eat past our hunger queues, picking our way to a food coma. Instead of overindulging and eating until your plate is empty, ask for a box as soon as you start to feel full.
9. Skip decadent desserts. It’s ok to have dessert, but choose fruit-based desserts, sorbet, or lighter options instead of dense cakes, pies, or ice cream. Add a cappuccino or coffee if you need to fill the need to keep going.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you are unsure about how something is prepared, or some of the ingredients – just ask! The server should know the menu, and can likely recommend some healthy options, or available swaps.
About Tasha Rosales, Certified Nutritionist, Wellness Homemade
Wellness Homemade takes a new approach to providing health and wellness coaching that will leave you feeling stronger and healthier than ever. Tasha meets you where you are and provides you with coaching to manage your overall health.