Food Choices when you’re Out and About
Your best choice is always the food you prepare but you can eat out and follow a healthy eating plan. Use common sense and follow your meal composition guidelines. Here are some tips to help you eat smart when dining out.
1. Do your Research
With most restaurants, you can go online and look at their menus. See what dishes look healthy--grilled items, salads, vegetable sides, and so forth. Before you go, decide you'll order, and stick to your decision once you get there.
2. Order First
You looked at the menu at home and you know what you’re going to order until your friend orders the lobster mac and cheese! To avoid being tempted, place your order first. If you can't order first, then make your decision, close the menu, and repeat your selection to yourself to help you stick to it. If you're dining at a restaurant you go to a lot, just ask for what you want without ever opening the menu.
3. Ask Questions
Before ordering, ask the server about the details of the meal: How is this dish prepared? Can it be modified? What ingredients are used? Do they have any low-fat or low-calorie options? What comes with this meal? Can I make substitutions? How large are the portions? Don't be afraid to make special requests. For example, ask that foods be served with minimal butter, margarine or oil. Ask if a particular dish can be broiled or baked rather than fried. Also, ask that no additional salt be added to your food.
If you don't see something you like, ask for it. As a paying customer, you have the right to eat not only what tastes good, but also what's good for you.
4. No Appetizers or Bread
The most damage often occurs before the actual meal begins. Ask the waiter not to bring the chips and salsa or the basket of rolls and butter. If they’re not in front of you, you won’t be tempted.
5. Choose low-fat preparation methods
The way your entree is prepared influences its calorie and fat content. Choose grilled, broiled or baked meats and entrees. Pan-fried and deep-fried foods give you extra fat you don't need. Broiling, baking, steaming, poaching and grilling seafood, skinless poultry, lean meat and veggies give you all the flavor without all the fat.