Last weekend, my friends and I visited Dallas and Austin. We live in different states now, and so a weekend with friends is ever so valuable. What did we do for most of the time? We ate, we talked, and we discovered different restaurants. Throughout the weekend, each of us worked to eat healthfully.
Here’s how we stayed healthy while dining out:
We perused restaurant menus (and restaurant reviews) online before we left the house.
1. Look for a variety of menu options: vegan, vegetarian, fish, and organic meat
2. Identify the questions you have about various dishes beforehand. This helps you when you arrive at the restaurant
We asked our server questions
3. Ask if it is possible to cook the meal in olive, canola, or vegetable oil.
4. Ask for substitutions, like asking for a side salad or veggies instead of fries
We watched for sauces and dressings
5. Watch for sauces and dressings that are cream-based (“white” sauce or “butter” sauce) or are sugary (like teriyaki or honey-ginger) and opt for broth- or tomato-based sauces, and vinegar-based dressings
6. Ask for dressing and sauces to be served on the side
We opted (mostly) for fish or vegetarian options
7. Start your menu search in the vegetarian and fish sections first. There are usually delicious options to choose from.
8. Order fish and veggies that are steamed, baked, broiled, or grilled – not fried.
Can you spot all the veggies in this dish? Grilled fish is served with arugula, onions, rainbow chard, mashed cauliflower, and poblano peppers. Yum!
We ordered multiple fruits and vegetables
9. In addition to your dish, order a favorite veggie or fruit on the side. You can even split your side veggie with others if your dish already comes with a side of vegetables.
10. Remember: you want a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits on your plate. Dark green, red, and orange fruits and veggies are nutritious and have wonderful flavors.
We requested water
11. Instead of soft drinks, choose tap water. It not only will save you money, but also prevent you from consuming too much sugar.
12. For variety, ask for sparkling water, water with a slice of lemon or lime, or herbal tea.
We asked for whole grain options
13. Ask for whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, barley, or ancient grains.
14. Request substitutions for refined grains like white rice
We enjoyed our meals
15. Eat mindfully. You worked hard, and asked a lot of questions, to get that healthful meal. Now you can enjoy the look, smell, and taste of the flavors!
16. Take it slow. Eating your meal slowly might help you feel full before you feel like you are bursting. Plus, this helps you enjoy your conversation.
We walked after our meals
17. Walk after your meal. This might help with digestion.
18. Get some physical activity, like walking with friends, after a meal to give you more time to finish conversation and explore the area
How do you eat healthy while dining out? Let us know in the comments!
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