By: Breanne Nalder, MS, RDN
Let’s face it, with our hectic schedules we are eating out more often. It’s fine to indulge once in a while when dining out, but if you are eating out more than once a week, the “empty” calories can add up quickly. It’s easy to eat a whole day’s worth of calories in just one meal out. The good news is there are plenty of healthy ways to order that allow you to indulge responsibly.
Casual Dining Restaurant Tips
- Know your portions. Weigh and measure your food once in a while at home so you get a good idea of appropriate portions. This also helps you control portions when eating out.
- Take half to go, ask the server to wrap up half your entrée before it reaches your table.
- Avoid any dishes that have the words fried, batter dipped, creamy, cream sauce, scalloped, au gratin, butter sauce, cheesy, or alfredo. These words generally indicate the meal is higher in fat and calories.
- Order a side salad and/or veggies as a side when available. ALWAYS request Dressing on the side and to have your veggies steamed sans butter or sauce. You can usually replace a heavy side with vegetables or green, DON’T BE SHY TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT!!!
- Split one dessert between the table. Just make sure to take a bite or two and pass it on. Then you can enjoy a little treat, feel satisfied, and be proud that you made a healthy choice.
Mexican Restaurant Tips
- Go easy on the cheese, sour cream, and fried tortilla chips.* Make your burrito into a salad by dumping the inside over a bed of greens and use salsa as dressing!
- Add plenty of salsa, it’s low in calories, high in flavor, and counts as a vegetable serving.
- Guacamole is made from avocado, it contains a high concentration of healthy fat. Use a small portion as it also contains plenty of calories.
Fast Food Restaurant Tips
- Choose a side salad or fruit as a side when available. These are lower in calories and rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber.
- If eating with a friend, split a small order of fries as a side to help satisfy your craving without adding too many calories.
- Hold the mayo. 1 Tbsp. of mayonnaise adds 100 calories, and 11 grams of fat. Many sandwiches will use over 2 Tbsp. of mayonnaise.
- Opt for grilled chicken (instead of fried) on sandwiches, wraps and salads.
- Steer yourself towards a low calorie, healthy side such as baked potato, fruit (apple slices), fruit and yogurt parfait, or side salad with low fat dressing.
- Order water, as calories from soda add up quickly. A 32 oz soda contains about 375 EMPTY calories.
- Don’t be shy to try the vegetarian option, like a veggie or bean burger. They can be very yummy and much healthier, low in fat, AND count as another veggie serving in your day.
Sub or Deli Sandwich Restaurant Tips
- Choose whole grain or whole wheat breads or buns when offered. Whole grains are packed with nutrients and are a good source of fiber.
- Choose lower calorie meats such as turkey, grilled chicken, or a vegetarian option.
- Add extra vegetables for toppings.
- Go light on the cheese, ask for just one slice.
- Hold the mayo! Use vinegar, mustard, or al ittle olive oil to add flavor. Hummus and avocado can be great flavor enhancers too 😉
Pizza Restaurant Tips
- Choose lower calorie pizza toppings such as: vegetables, pineapple, chicken.
- Choose a red, tomato-based pizza sauce instead of a cream or ranch sauce.
- Ask for your pizza to be “easy on the cheese”; this can cut your calories by up to 100 per slice.
- Order thin crust. Less crust equals fewer calories.
- Choose the smallest slices. You won’t notice the size difference yet save 50-100 calories per slice.
- Have a salad with plenty of veggies and a light dressing, so you get color and quality in the meal too!
For more information contact : www.plan7coaching.com/nutrition