It all depends on what you choose to eat

Eating out is fun and all of us love it! There is a drastic increase in the number of people consuming outside food of late. But we don’t think about the most important thing while dining out: Nutrition. Though restaurant food may taste great and look appetizing, they are mostly laden with butter or rich sauces, salads with creamy dressings and minimal quantity of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. 

Here are some suggestions to make your dining experience a little more nutritious and healthy:

1. Narrow down on healthy Eateries

Don’t enter any restaurant of your fancy. Nowadays many eat outs offer healthy menu items. Choose such eat outs instead of being tempted by lavish menu options. Some restaurants even have their menu options displayed online along with the nutrition information beside them. This way, it becomes much easier to choose a destination with the healthiest options.

2. Limit portion sizes

People usually ask for half portions or share their restaurant meals with their friends/family because of the huge portion sizes served at restaurants. But even these portion sizes might still be over the limit. The best thing is to visualize your plate contents at home and replicate them in your restaurant meal.

3. Shift focus

Shift your focus from what should be avoided to what can be consumed. Opt for whole-grain bread, pasta and sides; embrace healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds; pick from colourful fruits and veggies and choose between lean meat, turkey, chicken and fish.

4. Never enter a Restaurant in hunger state

You enter a restaurant with hunger pangs and that’s the end of the story. You will end up gobbling down several pieces of buttered bread before the main meal arrives. Make sure you eat a portion of fruit or a light snack before you leave for the restaurant in such scenarios. If not, you can order a bowl of clear veggie soup or a small portion of salad to ward off hunger.

5. Wordings matter

Choose dishes depending on the way they are described in the menu card. These give you clues on the method of preparation. Go ahead with dishes marked as “grilled,” “broiled” or “steamed” as they imply that the food is cooked with less fat and avoid dishes marked as “fried", "breaded", “smothered”, “Alfredo”, “rich” or “creamy”.

6. Never hesitate to ask

It is not wrong to ask for substitutes. Don’t feel shy to ask your waiter to replace the usual fries or chips with a portion of salad or fruit. You can even request the waiter to prepare all the food items with less oil/butter, to take away the bread basket and serve salad with minimum-fat dressing on the side and ask for an appetizer portion of the main meal.

You can even order “off-menu” items which many restaurants are more than willing to comply. Request the chef for vegetarian meal preparations or if it is possible to make grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. 

Healthy eating doesn’t require shunning away from dining out. With some smart thinking and healthy substitutions, you can eat foods that are nutritious and filled with good health, just like home food.