Last updated on September 26th, 2023 at 01:24 pm
The quest for healthy eating habits usually stops the moment you dine out.
Many people believe the only way to eat healthily is if you prepare the meal yourself.
This is far from the truth.
We now live in a world that offers us a lot of variety in terms of food and restaurants have slowly become aware of the different tastes and preferences that diners have.
This urged them to offer more menu items, often healthier options.
The responsibility for eating healthy when dining out now falls on the diners themselves.
With so much information available online, they can be selective in the restaurants they choose as well as the food they want to eat.
Below are some tips about healthy eating habits even when dining out.
Know what to get.
These days, we are a little more fortunate when it comes to the food options available at restaurants.
There is a great deal more variety when it comes to menu items and we have the luxury to choose food that is a little more nutritious and healthy.
The trick now is to know what you’re going to order before going.
A lot of restaurants offer their menus online, and often they provide more information about the serving and nutritional value per serving.
1. Make a Plan :
A good plan is a key to success, as they say.
The same goes for your healthy diet goals with healthy eating habits.
Being a little more conscious of what you’re getting makes you more aware of the meal you eat.
If you know you’re going to go out for lunch, you can plan a lighter breakfast.
Also plan to make an effort to eat slowly not only to savor the food but to give your stomach time to send a message to the brain that it’s full.
Fast eaters tend to overeat while slow eaters are known to eat less.
2. Put in a Little Effort :
A good meal after a nice activity is very satisfying.
So when planning to dine out, try to include physical activity into the dining experience.
Now and then, go for restaurants that allow you to walk a little farther out than usual.
All you’ll need is a good pair of shoes, nice weather, and good company to make the experience enjoyable.
You’ll find that sharing a meal after a nice walk and chat with a friend or a loved one is a far more enjoyable experience than merely picking the closest restaurant for the convenience of it all.
3. Avoid Splitting Meals :
There is a lot of advice when it comes to a healthy dining experience that you should order half of the usual serving at restaurants, or split it with someone.
While this can be effective in allowing you to cut cost and caloric intake, there are restaurants that half portions are still too much for one person to consume.
Take the time to review the restaurant and visualize their serving size even before you get there.
It’s also better if you are deliberate with your order, choosing to include other food items.
In fact, the appetizer section is enough to make a full and balanced meal than merely ordering one main course food item.
And even if you’re dining at a fish restaurant and want to avoid eating anything sweet, you can always peruse the dessert menu and select something small in serving to complete the meal.
Even nice hot chocolate after a hearty meal is a great way to finish.
4. Don’t Go Hungry :
Some people, in trying to control their healthy eating habits, go overly hungry just to stick to a meal schedule.
This can backfire in several ways.
For one thing, the moment you allow yourself to eat, you can’t help but eat fast and scarf down your food without thinking about it because your body is just craving something to eat.
You also tend to avoid drinking liquid which can help satiate you when you’re eating.
When you feel hungry, you can snack on some nuts and dried foods.
And when you get to the restaurant, order a warm soup or a small side salad to satisfy your hunger before you order a proper meal.
5. Notice The Wording :
As is often the case, a lot of restaurants use specific words that tell you how the meal is prepared. Use this to inform you of the menu items that are healthy and more nutritious instead of going for the ones that are your go-to or favorite.
Look for words that have “broiled,” “steamed,” or “grilled” in them.
This means that the food contains less fat.
Grilled meats typically have lower caloric content since grilling using high heat releases the excess fat from the meat.
The same goes for broiling.
The broiling rack in ovens has been designed to allow grease to drip into the pan below.
Steamed vegetables also offer more nutrients than when it is fried as the excessive heat can destroy the cellular structure of the plant and lose a lot of its mineral content.
Incorporate these healthy eating habits very easily.
6. Pass Up on The Buffet :
I know you don’t want to hear this but an all-you-can-eat buffet is something you should try to avoid if you plan to change your bad eating habits into healthy eating habits.
Although a lot of buffets offer a lot of food variety, because you’re paying more than you typically would on a regular meal, you would want to make the most out of it by trying as many of the food as you can.
This leads to overeating.
And since buffets may have long queues for food, people tend to get more food than they can consume when it’s their turn at the buffet.
Going for buffet service also contributes to food wastage.
Typically, there is a lot more food served at buffets than are consumed in a single day.
The food presentation also gets ruined by other guests which makes them look unappetizing and less satisfactory to eat.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask :
It should not come as a surprise but the wait staff is quite well-versed when it comes to choosing healthy meal options.
You shouldn’t be afraid to ask them for help in trying to make your meals healthier.
You can ask, for example, to have a salad instead of the mashed potato or chips that come with your meal.
Can also, ask to have the meal prepared with less oil or salt.
And it’s also possible to ask them to take away the breadbasket once the meals are served.
And then there is the option to order “off-menu”.
If there are none that you see on the menu, you can ask what the chef can whip out for a vegetarian meal.
Or you can also ask if they can make you a grilled chicken with steamed vegetables.
A lot of restaurants are happy to comply with these types of requests.
8. Take Some Home :
A key to a successful dietary habit when dining out is to change the idea that you have to clear your plate.
This is especially true at high-end restaurants where food is regarded as art and therefore should be consumed on the spot lest you will be labeled as a “fussy eater.”
This is far from the truth.
Portion control is important to a healthy diet and in dining out, you don’t always have to finish what is served, especially when the portion is too much.
Try eating the meal slowly and when you feel full, ask the server to take the rest of the food away.
If you are against wasting food, you always have the option to put the rest in a carryout bag which you can enjoy at home.
Now, you can enjoy two or three meals for the price of one.
This point actually works great for those who are trying to convert into healthy eating habits.
9. Mind Your Manners :
Often it takes only small changes to change your bad eating habits into a healthy one.
For the most part, people tend to gulp their food the moment it is served which makes them overeating this way also doesn’t give you time to enjoy your food which leaves you less satisfied after the meal.
Small changes can go a long way.
Eating slower is better for digestion and will make you feel full a lot faster.
It also gives you enough time to enjoy the different facets of the meal.
Take the time to properly chew your food.
And go for menu items that take work and slows you down when eating like grab legs or oysters.
Lastly, make the food a conversation topic among your table mates.
This will enhance the dining experience and elevate it beyond just feeling full.
Chewing slowly is one of the best healthy eating habits overall.
10. Final Thoughts :
Healthy eating habits are more than just being selective with the food that you eat, although that plays a big part.
It helps if you change your attitude towards it.
Becoming more conscious of what you’re eating and how it plays a role in your overall health can motivate you to cut down on certain food and go for healthier options.
I have shared about 10 healthy eating habits when you are dining out in this article.
I am sure these tips for healthy eating habits while dining out are super easy to maintain.
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This was a Guest Post by Eliza Brook.