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6 Tips to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

6 Tips to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

Healthy options when eating out have become more plentiful recently because of increased awareness and pressure on companies to provide more choices. Not only are there more salads and vegetarian dishes but more restaurants are including calorie counts providing consumers more information to make conscientious decisions. There are however additional steps which can be taken to eat healthy when dining out.

1. Facts First

A little research goes along way and many national chains restaurants will provide nutritional information on their websites. For consumers who are proactive about eating healthy, they can easily obtain multiple sources of dietary information to narrow down which restaurants to take their business to. Even something simple like examining menus beforehand to confirm vegetarian dishes can have an impact when trying to eat healthy or limit caloric intake.

2. Avoid Appetizers

Appetizers are normally worse in terms of negative health impact than entrees. It's not exactly healthy to eat a huge plate of bacon and cheese covered french fries prior to having your main meal. The fat and salt content alone means most appetizers should be avoided at all costs. In addition to the health expense, most appetizers run between 8$ and $10 making them as much as a main course. If anything, have a few pieces of bread to tide you over before your meal comes.

3. Wonderful Water

Instead of having sweet tea or soda consider limiting your fluid consumption to water only. Sweetened refreshments are normally between 200 and 300 calories per glass and cost around three dollars. In order to get your money's worth you need to consume three or four glasses which is roughly 1,000 calories just in drinks. Not only that, tea and soda provide huge profit margins for restaurants since the per serving cost is roughly $.10 a glass. Not only is water free but it also aids digestion and cleanses the palate which is essentially a win win win scenario.

4. Consider Compromising

If you're going to eat something unhealthy when dining out consider limiting your choice to one item only. When ordering a cheesesteak sandwich consider getting a side of vegetables instead of french fries. If you really want to have a restaurants famous chocolate cheesecake then have salmon and brown rice for your main course. By going with default selections you can easily consume 3,000 calories and 100 grams of fat in one sitting.

5. Proper Portions

Restaurants go out of their way to give their patrons more than what they pay for when it comes the portion size. While this makes for good public relations and happy customers it means consumers ingest thousands more in calories than they would by eating appropriate portion sizes. A 16 ounce porterhouse steak looks great on a menu but the average adult should only be consuming between 4 and 6 ounces of red meat in one meal. For meals which are unrealistically large, split it in two then eat half and take the rest home. Not only will this mean eating healthier but you get two meals for the price of one.

6. Ditch Dessert

Desserts are as bad if not worse than appetizers. Not only do they have ridiculously high fat counts but they can increase a bill by 20% to 30%. Instead of eating dessert at the restaurant, consider stopping by for frozen yogurt or a healthier alternative on the way home.