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8 Golden Tips to Healthily Eating Out (Guilt-Free!)

Precision Orthopedics By Precision
June 30, 2022 | Health

We’ve all been in the same position. When the diet is going well, the workouts are consistent, and your hydration is on point; only to then receive that dreaded phone call from a friend inviting you out to your favorite restaurant for a casual dinner… 

You begin to run through each and every reason as to why you can’t go, only to arrive at the conclusion that you actually kinda want to go…

And guess what? That is okay. 

After all, eating out is a fun, sociable, and exciting experience that should never be completely cut out of one’s life based on diet and training routine. Spending quality time with friends and loved ones can remove a lot of stress from day-to-day life, resulting in a healthier mindset altogether.

However, there’s a smarter way to eat out; sticking to your health goals while still enjoying the overall dining experience. 

The following 8 golden tips will help you keep those restaurant meals on the healthier side of dining out.

Check out the menu before you go! Bad decisions can be made when hunger, delicious aromas, server suggestions, and time pressure are involved. Don’t let them have the power! Most restaurants now post their menu online giving you the freedom to make the right choice before third parties begin getting involved. 

Eat before you eat! This might seem a little counter-productive, but by having a healthy, high-protein snack before going to the restaurant you’ll suppress that hunger-based decision-making altogether. It doesn’t have to be overly filling, a smoothie would do the trick! But this quick tip could keep you from diving into that extra fried side dish or two…

Review how your meal is cooked! The way food is cooked usually tells you a lot about the overall nutrition of the food itself. Let’s use the classic French fry side as an example. 1 small portion of baked French fries contains about 100 calories, whereas 1 small portion of deep-fried French fries contains about 319 calories. 

Meals that are boiled, steamed, poached, grilled, or baked often contain far fewer calories than those that are pan-fried, deep-fried, or sautéed. Check the menu for the cooking method of your potential meal. There’s also no shame in asking the waiter how a meal is prepared or cooked, and this small hack can save you plenty of calories as well as inches on your waistline! 

Phase out the fizz! Eating calories is one thing, but drinking calories is just unnecessary. Besides, how much does a sugary drink actually fill you up? A can of Sprite contains almost 150 calories, is it really worth it? If you truly feel the need for something fizzy, go for a sugar-free/diet option. But take note: if mixed with alcohol, you’ll feel the effects much faster. Due to the low-sugar content of diet sodas, the alcohol is metabolized at a quicker rate. 

Our go-to? Sparkling water with a wedge of lime. Take on that classy edge and save those calories for some delicious food!

Go ahead and order a starter! By ordering a soup or salad to start you can prevent over

eating later on. Chances of ordering sides or dessert are drastically reduced, not to mention the potential theft of your neighbor’s food… Studies have also shown that those who order a soup or salad to start actually end up eating 20% fewer calories throughout the meal.

Ditch the bread! Simple as that. It may look appetizing, especially when you arrive at the restaurant feeling a little peckish, but it’s best to pass. Besides, if you’re out for a meal, why fill up on the same bread you could buy at your local grocery store?

Make a healthy swap! Usually, a meal comes accompanied by fries, chips, or white potatoes. It’s an easy, filling, tasty, and cheap way to ‘bulk up’ the plate – and standard practice at most restaurants. However, by asking the waiter to either leave it out, or swap it with some extra vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or a side salad, you’ll drastically reduce your overall calories while increasing your overall nutrition for the day!

Skip the dessert! As appealing as desserts sound, they’re often loaded with sugar. The treat was the dinner out, there’s no need for the cherry on top (quite literally). Go for a coffee instead.

The average amount of calories in a restaurant dessert: 328

The average amount of calories in an Espresso/Americano: 9

Eating out doesn’t have to be an unhealthy experience, nor does it have to make you feel as if you’re cheating on your diet. Keep the above-mentioned tips in mind, and truly enjoy those meals out with the people who mean the most to you.