Tips for Dining Out
By: Diana Nunziato, RN, BSN
Dining out used to be an event reserved for special occasions. In today’s society, now dining out has become part of our everyday routine. With busier and more hectic schedule, we need to eat out or eat on the run. Some individuals eat out several times a week or even once a day. Usually when we eat out we are consuming larger portions and food that contain a high number of calorie and fats.
Statistics show that fifty cents of every dollar spent on food is spent away from home, according to the National Restaurant Association. Sometimes it is difficult to identify and decipher which food choices are the healthiest. There are online resources to help consumers identify healthier choices at restaurants.HealthyDiningFinder.com, is a website that helps individuals that are weight-conscious and seeking the healthier food options.
Another website that is helpful to individuals on the go is www.menupages.com.This website allows you to view the menus of many restaurants in major cities. Many of local restaurants have their own websites and post their menus through that. If they are not available you can always ask them to fax or e-mail you the menu.
Here are some tips to eat healthier while being weight conscious:
When you arrive at the restaurant make sure you are not starving
Ask the waiter/waitress to remove the bread basket from the table
Avoid buffets, where it is common to over consume on calories
Choose foods that are broiled, baked, grilled, poached, and roasted, rather than fried
Avoid mayonnaise based salads (potato and macaroni)
Ask for dressings, sauces, and gravies on the side
Choose white meat chicken and fish rather than red meats
Steamed vegetables are better than vegetables sautéed in butter
Avoid cream sauces and cream based soups
Choose a healthy appetizer as your meal; appetizers usually come in smaller portions than an entree
When selecting a dessert try to choose fresh fruit
Do not waste your calories on drinks. Instead try to choose water or unsweetened tea. Be careful of alcoholic drinks many contain high concentrations of sugar
Most importantly, remember that portion control and moderation is key. Never be afraid to ask how something is prepared. Also, you can always take half of the meal home for the next day so you don’t have to feel obligated to finish the whole plate. Planning ahead can help you make your dining experiences healthier and decrease the number of unwanted calories which you consume.