Eating out is a nice treat for yourself and a convenient option when you don’t have enough time to cook at home.
It also allows you to socialize with other people.
However, salt, sugar, saturated fat, and calories can quickly add up when you are eating out often.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to compromise your diet and feel bad about eating out.
Planning ahead and knowing what to order can help you eat healthy foods and stay focused on your healthy eating goals.
20 Healthy Tips For Eating Out
Knowing up front that you’ll be eating out that day can help you plan ahead.
It can help you decide what you’ll eat even before going, come up with a plan to order foods that aren’t unhealthy, it can help you decide to eat healthier for breakfast and lunch if you’re going out for dinner, it can help you know to work out a bit more that day, etc.
So, plan your eating out in advance if you want to make it easier for yourself to stick to healthy eating and your weight loss journey.
Just like you’re planning your grocery list when stocking your pantry with healthy ingredients, plan out your eating-out meals as well, it will definitely help you make healthier choices.
Having A Snack Before Going Out
Having a healthy snack before going out is a good idea for two reasons.
First, you won’t be too hungry, so you won’t over-eat – when we’re hungry we tend to eat so fast we don’t even realize we’re full halfway through.
Secondly – when you’re ordering food while you’re very hungry, you tend to order the most unhealthy thing (because when we’re hungry, we’re usually craving something unhealthy). But having a little snack before going will help you order your meal with your actual health goal in mind.
Drink Water Before Meals
Drinking water before meals will help you not over-eat, as your stomach will be somewhat filled with water.
Ask For Healthy Swaps
Don’t be afraid to ask for healthy swaps! If the side for your chicken is french fries, you can ask to substitute that for rice, grilled veggies, or baked potato. If your meal includes deep fried chicken, maybe you can ask for grilled chicken instead. It’s all about making healthier choices while still being able to enjoy your meal.
Eating veggies will help you make sure you’re eating healthy foods, and also not leaving too much room for the unhealthy stuff. Order a side salad, get veggies as side dishes, etc.
Pausing In Between Bites
Pausing in between bites allows your brain to process what you’re eating – when we eat too fast, we don’t have the time to realize we’re full, so we end up eating the entire meal, even though we were maybe full after eating half of it.
Ask For Dressings On The Side
If you’re getting a salad, you might want to ask for dressing on the side. Salad dressing usually has added sugar, so if you ask for it on the side, you can control how much you’ll actually use. Of course, if the menu includes nutrition information, you won’t have to do that, but lots of menus don’t
Or you can even ask to substitute the dressing for olive oil and lemon juice, for an even healthier option.
Chewing slowly is important because it helps your body break down food easily. It also helps you realize when you’re full. While making healthy choices when ordering food (such as not ordering deep fried food or food with lots of unhealthy fat and sodium), it’s also important to think about the way you’re actually eating that food.
Choose Coffee Instead Of The Dessert
Opting for a coffee instead of a dessert can help make the whole meal healthier. That way, you can even eat less healthy for the actual meal, since you know you won’t be getting a dessert.
Order A Salad First
Ordering a salad as an appetizer is a great idea, because you’ll fill up a bit on healthy food, so you won’t eat too much of the less healthy meal.
Look At The Menu Before Going
Looking at the menu before going can help you plan ahead. It can help you make sure the restaurant has some healthier options as well, and also decide upfront what you’ll be eating, so you can prepare.
Eat Healthy The Rest Of The Day
If you want to enjoy your restaurant time and not worry too much about what you’ll be eating, try to eat healthy the rest of the day. That way, the meal you’ll be eating out will be the only unhealthy thing you eat that day.
Choose Healthier Drinks
Drinks can be very unhealthy and calorie-heavy, but we often forget to think about them. So, order water, lemonade, or another healthy drink option if your meal won’t be the healthiest. Drinking alcohol might not be the best option if you’re thinking about weight management. However, it’s not the end of the world to drink every now and then, so if you feel like drinking a glass of wine, don’t worry – it won’t ruin your diet.
Think About Portion Sizes
Portion sizes can often be huge in restaurants, so make sure to think about that.
If you get full in the middle of your meal, don’t feel like you have to eat everything because you’re paying for it – you can ask them to pack up the leftovers, so you can bring them home and eat them tomorrow.
Order A Healthy Appetizer
Getting a healthy appetizer helps you fill up on healthy stuff so you don’t eat as much of the unhealthy foods later.
Choose A Healthier Side
If the main part of your meal isn’t super healthy, get a healthier side – grilled veggies, boiled veggies, a side salad, rice, etc.
Go With Veggie-Based Meals
There are tons of veggie-based meals you can get that are healthier options when eating out – stir-fried veggies and protein, salads, etc.
Get The Sauce On The Side
If there’s a sauce on top of your chicken or protein, you can ask to get it on the sauce on the side instead of covering the chicken with it, so you can decide how much sauce you’ll use, as it’s often unhealthy. Sauces often have extra fat, mainly unhealthy fat and sodium, so by getting it on the side, you’re easily making a healthy choice.
Don’t Eat The Bread Basket
While the bread basket can be tempting, try not to eat it. That allows you to eat the meal even if it’s less healthy – if you’re eating something not so healthy, would you rather eat bread, or a delicious full meal?
Get A Broth-Based Soup
Getting a broth-based soup as an appetizer is a great idea. They’re usually very healthy, they don’t have tons of calories, and they’ll fill you up a bit.