If you’re trying to lose weight or just become a healthier person in general, you probably have started to work on your diet. If you can control your calorie intake it’s easier overall to achieve your goals. However, some situations will present themselves that you just can’t avoid. If you’re planning on eating out at a restaurant here are some tips to consider that will keep your diet progress on track.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
After working at a restaurant, and getting my food for free, I noticed that my diet was suffering immensely and the progress was close to going in reverse. Since all I ate was the salad this made no sense to me, and not until I really considered what I was eating did I know what needed to change. Look carefully at what is in your food. An average salad from a corporate restaurant can have ten or more ingredients, while only two of them are healthy. Some salads just have plain iceberg lettuce giving them no nutritional value at all. Another common deception is choosing a baked menu item as a healthy option. In our restaurant the term “baked” actually meant that the food had been first fried and then grilled, not making it an actual healthy option.
Don’t Double Down
Many restaurants offer a deal for doubling your meat, dressing, or sides for a much lower price. This is unhealthy and largely a psychological trick to make you think your getting the upper hand on the restaurant. Remember that the food being offered to you, while cheaper than your meal, actually only costs a fraction of the reduced price and relies largely on you being an impulse buyer. Not only will you probably end up consuming too much in one sitting, but you will be eating more of the foods that are often the most unhealthy things on the menu. Think twice before you add that extra order of bacon or second cup of ranch to your waistline.
Know Your Options
When you go out to eat, you may not realize that the menu generally isn’t set in stone. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate a special request if they can. If your watching your carbs you can ask for no bun or a tortilla instead of white bread. If your counting calories ask and see if you can get your vegetables steamed or fresh without the standard butter toppings. Far from popular opinion that special requests are looked down on by the cooks, they often end up being the meals that are prepared more carefully to please the eater.
No matter where you’re eating there is usually a complimentary food that you will receive as soon as you are seated at your table. This is another small mind trick that you probably didn’t know they were using on you. By offering you this food before your meal it’s more likely that you will not finish and take your leftovers home, helping them build their reputation and brand by reminding you where you ate and that it was good enough to take your leftovers with you to eat later. Along with being filling these often have some of the worst nutritional value. Eating the free food will only keep you from fully enjoying the dish you ordered and stack up calories in the process.
Ordering is the crucial point where you can either make or break your dietary goals. Since it can be tempting to listen to what other people are having, try to order first to prevent changing your mind to something less healthy.Try ordering your food without the toppings like gravy or butter to avoid unnecessary calories. When choosing your food pick something with a bright color. Almost all calorie dense food is dark red, brown, or beige while vegetables or fruits all have a much brighter shade
Next time your eating out try some of these tips to make it a healthier experience. These tips helped me cut down on calories while still allowing me to eat delicious restaurant quality food. Enjoy!