|When you are trying to eat more healthfully, it is best to make meals at home because you have the most control over what goes into your foods. However, as part of a balanced lifestyle, you should enjoy dining out too!
Not every restaurant provides menus with nutritional info, so you are on your own with figuring out the stats. But, have no fear, here are some easy ways to HACK the menu & choose healthy swaps no matter where you dine!
· Dining bright & early?! Chose a veggie-loaded omelet to start your day. Tomato, peppers, onions, broccoli… the works. Whole eggs are great, but some diners use up to EIGHT eggs in one meal… so opt for egg whites or egg substitute in place of some of the eggs. Skip the cheese, or ask for a half portion. Request your meal to be cooked with no butter or a little oil. Instead of hash browns, ask for a side of fruit!
· Start with soup! Choosing a broth-based soup to start your meal, leads to fewer calories consumed during that meal. It helps control your appetite, and soup is DELICIOUS, especially with the Fall weather rolling in. Think minestrone, vegetable, or lentil soups instead of the chowders, lemon rice, or creamy potato or tomato soups that are usually loaded with extra fats.
· Have protein your way! Do you want a piece of grilled fish, but all they have is fried, beer-battered, or fish topped with a buttery sauce? Ask your server if you can get a piece of it baked, broiled, or grilled instead. And, make sure to swap out the French fries or loaded potatoes with the vegetable of the day or a side salad. Speaking of salads…
· Salads 101 – when the average person thinks of healthy eating, they think of salads. And while salads can be a nutritious meal, restaurant salads can be as calorie-rich as a plate of wings, depending on the toppings! So, what toppings are the main culprits?! Typically the croutons, excessive cheese, fried noodles, dried fruits, or candied nuts have the most added sugar and fats! So consume the toppings in moderation, and ask the server to put those items on the side! With salad dressings, remember to DIP instead of POUR as restaurants usually give WAY TOO MUCH dressing to start with! The best dressings are oil and vinegar combinations.
· In a time crunch?! Stop at your favorite sandwich joint! When ordering, ask for whole wheat bread, whole wheat wraps, or use lettuce leaves as your buns. In terms of sandwich types, grilled chicken, turkey, lean fish, or eggs are the way to go! And LOAD UP on the veggies. For condiments, hummus, mustards, salsa, and vinegar are great… better off skipping the mayo.
When in doubt, remember to “have it your way!” Most restaurants can make accommodations for cooking preferences, sides, and sauces!
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