Eating out while on a diet can seem like torture unless you develop a new perspective on things. Several years ago after embracing a healthy lifestyle, I learned how to eat out and order healthy, which was something I never knew how to do in my earlier years. Eating out while on a diet, or just eating healthy foods while you’re out to eat, is really quite simple to do. Ignore the calorie counts on the menu, and instead, just keep these tips in mind. Don’t worry, these tips won’t leave you hungry, dissatisfied, or feeling like the oddball at the dinner table!
1. Forget the Fried
First, if you’re eating out while on a diet, the most important tip is to forget the fried stuff altogether. Sure, it might have fewer calories than another dish that’s not fried, but I can promise that doesn’t mean it’s healthier. Fried foods change the way your entire metabolism works, they clog your arteries, and teach your body to store fat as fat - not a good thing! You want to teach your body to use fat as fuel, not store it up for later use. Just forget the fried stuff and stick with sauteed, broiled, grilled, seared, steamed, or baked. All those terms are 100% safe.
2. Double Veggies
Instead of ordering a starchy side like rice or a white potato, which will both spike the glycemic index, order double veggies instead. A sweet potato is a great option instead of a white potato, so always ask if they have sweet potatoes to sub in for a regular baked potato. Sweet potatoes and other vegetables lower the glycemic index, which helps your body store less fat. Starchy sides cause an increase of insulin, which actually teaches your body to store fat faster. If the dish you are ordering doesn’t come with veggies, or comes with a starchy side, simply ask the server to nix the sides with the dish and give you double steamed veggies and a sweet potato instead.
3. No Croutons or Cheese
Whenever you order a salad, don’t freak out so much about the calorie count of the dressing. Instead, be sure you always ask for no croutons or cheese on your salad. This is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent overloading on calories on your salad. Plus, croutons and cheese are highly processed and offer no benefits whatsoever. Eventually, you’ll get used to it, I promise. Ask them to put slivered or sliced almonds on top instead. They offer a delicious crunchiness you’ll learn to love!
4. Oil Based Dressings
On the topic of dressings, always opt for an oil based dressing over a cream based dressing. Balsamic vinaigrette is also a great option too. Italian dressing is usually safe, or better yet, just ask for oil and vinegar. Both olive oil and vinegar are high on the satiety list and they help lower your blood glucose levels. I also like to ask for a few lemon slices to add with oil and vinegar to squeeze over my salads. It makes for a delicious dressing when combined with a little black pepper!
5. Choose Fish First
If you like fish, always choose fish as your main source of protein first before opting for burgers, steaks, chicken, etc. Most likely, you’ll get a leaner piece of protein with fish, and if it’s higher in calories, it’s all from omega 3 fats, which are the good kind for your heart and waistline. Just remember not to get the fried forms of fish to keep it nice and healthy. Fish is incredibly weight-loss friendly, and one of the best forms of protein you can eat wherever you go.
6. Salt Smart
Please, please, please don’t shake salt all over your food when you eat out. Most restaurant dishes are so high in sodium it’s insane! Even seemingly healthy dishes are loaded with it. This won’t hurt you on occasion, but keep food as basic as possible, and never shake salt all over your food. For one, it raises your blood pressure and hurts your heart, but it also increases your appetite. Definitely not a good thing when you’re on a diet!
Always ask for water when going out to eat. Better yet, ask for water with lemon. The lemon helps to flush out impurities, can satisfy your sweet tooth, and it will cleanse the palate to freshen your breath as a bonus!
8. Say No to Dessert
I know once in awhile, a dessert won’t hurt you, but for the most part say no when you can! Instead, have a nice square of dark chocolate at home or keep it in your purse. It’s not only better for you, but also better for your body!
9. Sans the Sauce
Many dishes that look healthy often come with a sauce on top. Most of these are cream based, or even made from pure butter. It’s best to ask for no sauce, and always read the description carefully when ordering a dish. This can help keep the calories in check, and you’ll never miss it anyway!
When you’re eating out on a diet, you should be able to enjoy what you eat without worrying about undoing your diet. You don’t have to try to pick the healthiest item on the menu either. Just keep these tips in mind, and most likely, you’ll do just fine. What do you order if you’re eating out while on a diet or just trying to eat healthier?