Tips to take wise picks and eat healthy at any restaurant

For most of us eating is a way of relaxing and socializing. However, if you are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can pose a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at most restaurants, even at your favorite burger or pizza joints. Sifting through truckloads of not-so-healthy options to find the healthier ones on a menu can be frustrating though.

You can plan ahead and make the experience hassle-free. Here’s how:

  • Do your research. Think about where you will eat when you are planning to head out with friends. It will be much easier to shortlist healthier food options in advance if you know where you are headed.
  • Think about portions. Most restaurants serve portions suited to feeding two to three moderately hungry diners. Order smaller portions or split them into two if someone else on your table is interested in that dish. This would avoid a guilt trip by overeating or wasting the food.
  • Look for fruits, green vegetables, nuts and whole grains in the dishes you order. Add a bit of each to your meals and you are in for a healthy, balanced meal.
  • While traveling, when you are forced to eat out most of the times, keep snacks handy – dried fruit, pretzels and nuts have a long shelf life and a life savior when on the road.
  • Most restaurant chefs are willing to customize a dish as per the customer’s order – take a chance and you may be looking at whole wheat bread over white bread, soy over milk and grilled over fried. Worth a try, right?
  • Choose water over any sweetened cold drink when thirsty. Water is always the solution. If you’d rather have something else, try fruit-flavored sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea. Sugar-free smoothies are a great option, too, especially if you plan on eating light.
  • If you are often worried about the mayonnaise or the cheese or a high-calorie dressing that would come as part of the food you order, ask for sauces, gravy and condiments on the side.
  • If you like your greens, go for a salad before you order anything else on the menu. Look out for deceptive ingredients as blue cheese, tortilla strips or croutons.
  • If you are a small eater and are watching your diet, there is nothing wrong in ordering two appetizers over the regular spread. And if the desserts seem to be tempting but high in calories, you could choose to take a walk with your companions to a frozen yoghurt or a fruit salad bar down the road.
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