If you are just joining in, I am hoping to share some of my tips for healthy living in the Fit for a Queen series that will benefit anyone desiring to live a healthier lifestyle. This is a daily choice for me and I am not an expert but I do have years of experience with my own healthy living journey. Today I’m hoping to give you some tips that will make eating out a little more healthy living friendly.
There are always going to be special occasions when we dine out for pleasure and will want to splurge and I am definitely not discouraging that. Dining out is tricky. Honestly, the only way to know for sure what is in your food is to prepare it yourself. So many times even the healthiest sounding items at a restaurant are prepared with lots of butter or some sauce that is full of calories and unhealthy fat. If you dine out frequently and want to stay on track with healthy eating here are a few of my favorite tips that help me enjoy my food without the guilt.
Salads seem to be one of the first items people trying to eat healthy are drawn to. Unfortunately the majority of salads prepared in restaurants are actually not that good for you. They are loaded with items high in sugar such as dried cranberries or include a large portion of nuts high in fat and do I need to even mention full of cheese. All this before I even mention the dressing. The biggest tip I can give you is to look for salads containing some sort of lean protein source, limit the items high in sugar and fat and request the dressing on the side. You will be tempted to go ahead and pour this dressing on top of your salad but I challenge you to try my method. I always mix up my salad and taste it first as often I don’t even need the dressing. If I still do, I dip my fork in the dressing and then grab my bite of salad. All the taste and much fewer calories this way!
Lose the bread. I know, I know how can you eat a burger without the bun or a breakfast taco without the tortilla? Trust me you can. Honestly what I have found since losing the bread is the food actually even taste better because you are getting the full flavor. Here are a couple of real life examples.
Chick-Fil-A grilled chicken sandwich with a fruit bowl instead of fries. This one is so hard because those waffle fries..yum! Honestly there are times I will order the kids meal with the grilled nuggets and waffle fries and that is still better than eating a chick-fil-a sandwich with the bun. I actually ordered the club this day with no cheese so there should have been some bacon on there and I was very disappointed. I like to get the sandwich over the nuggets mainly because of the lettuce and tomato.
If you order a breakfast taco ask the restaurant if you can skip the tortilla and they will often be able to put it in a bowl for you. Delicious!
In both these scenarios I could have just removed the bun or removed the tortilla but by asking for it without it to begin with gives me a better chance of not cheating. Take baby steps if you need to! Next time you order a burger or sandwich only eat one bun and see if you are just as satisfied.
How else are calories hidden? Ordering veggies as a side is a great idea until you realize they are using butter. What about your meat? Did you know many steaks are actually cooked with butter as well? Restaurants are becoming more and more accustomed to customers giving special instructions and if you ask for your food to be cooked without butter they will more than likely comply. I ask for extra lemons when ordering steamed veggies and it definitely gives flavor without the extra calories. When a sauce is listed on the main dish you can always ask for this to be served on the side as well. Just like salad dressing this allows you to be in control of how much you actually consume.
This seemed like a healthy option but once it arrived I’m pretty sure that sauce would have been a better choice on the side!
Portion control is hardest for me when I am dining at a Mexican restaurant or a restaurant that serves bread before the meal. The very best idea is to immediately ask these items not be delivered until the food arrives but when I’m dining with my husband and teenage boy that is not an option. Bread I can usually pass on but chips and hot sauce are my weakness. Refusing it all together is just going to make me dream about it more so instead I set aside a serving (approximately 12 chips) and enjoy those as slowly as possible. I seriously break every single one into about four pieces and load it as full as possible with hot sauce. If you can’t resist the bread I suggest the same, do not just begin breaking pieces off but instead place it on a side plate first so you can visually see how much you are allowing yourself.
As I have told you previously, I have a really hard time not eating every bit of food set in front of me. I don’t remember every being threatened with “there are starving children somewhere” but that is definitely how I respond to a full plate of food. Here are a few tips I’ve used to moderate portions.
I know almost every menu ever limits a childs plate to children under 12 but it never, ever hurts to ask. I have received many, many strange looks when ordering but they almost always will comply.
Probably the biggest tip I have for you is to plan ahead. Look the menu up online ahead of time and evaluate some options. More times than not if you take the time to know the menu you will make a better choice and will be less swayed but what others in your party are ordering.
I hope some of these tips might be new for you and will help you in your journey.
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