Tips to Stay Healthy When Eating Out

10468684_10100154032988733_1414898662642651227_nMany assume or are worried that they’ll never be able to go to a restaurant if they’re going to maintain healthy eating habits.

Truth is that you don’t have to stay at home and live in a “bubble” to live a health-conscious life. Even though I love cooking and eat 90% of my meals at home, you can still eat healthy while eating out with friends and family.

Here are some tips when you are considering eating out:

  • Check out the menu online. Most restaurants have their menu posted on their website. Skimming the online menu before you go will give you extra time to make an educated and healthy choice.
  • Keep the bread and chip baskets away. That dreaded basket of grainy goodness will lead to a lot of unnecessary calories and fat.
  • Bring your own condiments and dressings. Many people might think this is a little extreme, but salad dressings and condiments like ketchup are typically filled with processed sugars; inflammatory oils like canola, soy and corn; and other artificial additives. Keeping healthy versions of these in a purse or bag will ensure you’re not unnecessarily exposing yourself to foods that have a healthier alternative. Or just simply ask the server for healthier versions.
  • Have a healthy snack before you go. You’re probably thinking, “What’s the point of eating out if I am going to eat before I go to the restaurant?!?!” I honestly do this all the time though. I’m not suggesting you eat a full meal beforehand, but a light healthy snack will curb your craving to dive into the bread basket or order more food than you actually need.
  • Keep it simple. When you’re at a restaurant and trying to eat healthy, typically the simpler the meal the better. For example, a dish with added sauces or breading will just increase calories and artificial ingredients.
  • Speak up for yourself. This is sometimes hard to do, but suggesting healthier restaurants to your friends or family will help everyone win. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the menu.
  • Ask for vegetables or a salad as a side substitute. Instead of having fried foods or grains, ask for a side of steamed vegetables or salad.
  • Ask what oil your food is cooked in. Restaurants usually use cheaper oils, like canola or vegetable, to cook with. These oils are inflammatory polyunsaturated omega-6 fats that have a low smoking point and are easily oxidized. Long story short, they are toxic for you.
  • Avoid salad dressings. Most are filled with sugars, bad oils and trans fats; I would suggest either bringing your own or asking for olive oil and vinegar. Keep in mind, a lot of dressings such as a vinaigrette, are typically disguised as a healthy option, but still have artificial ingredients.
  • Check the sauces. Asking what’s in the sauce you are using is a good tip. Sauces are notorious for high fructose corn syrup and refined sugars. Asking for olive oil as a sauce is a great healthy alternative.
  • Support health-conscious restaurants. There are a growing number of restaurants that offer healthy and real food options. Menus filled with delicious, healthy meals will make it so much more enjoyable for everyone! Seek them out in your area and tell them you stand with them by supporting their health conscious business. Be sure to let your friends now about them as well!
  • Do your best and don’t stress. Use these tips, then let the rest go and enjoy yourself! You can’t control everything, so don’t try to. Or cook at home like I do 90% of the time and you can control everything in your food haha! In all seriousness though, remember to enjoy your food.

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