Healthy diet planning can be made when going out to eat. Here are my top 12 tips for restaurant eating!!
#1: Order a side salad as an appetizer, or skip it all together. Appetizers at places like the Cheesecake Factory (quesadillas, spinach and cheese dip, nachos, buffalo wings, thai lettuce wraps) have 1,000 to 1,600 calories. They're as bad or worse as an entre you are going to order.
#2: Pack up half your meal. Every portion of food is 2-3 times a normal and healthy serving. Each restaurant is trying to outdo the next by serving larger and larger portions. Before your food even comes, ask your waiter to box up half of it! What an easy solution and you have lunch for the next day!
#3: No bread or chips, thanks. Do you REALLY need an unlimited bread basket or chips at your table? Didn't think so! What about asking for it WITH your meal? I bet it will cut down on the amount of refills you ask for!
#4: At Asian restaurants, order mixed vegetables with sauteed (not deep-fried or breaded) chicken, tofu, shrimp or scallops. Skip the noodles.
#5: Pizza: thin, not thick crust. When you go for that occasional pizza, order half the cheese, thin crust (whole grain if possible) and veggies instead or with your meat toppings. We like to make our own pizzas at home! Great recipes for yummy alternatives to "traditional pizza" at www.getthehealthyedge.com! Try the 14 day trial and check them out. Be sure to try the vegetable Pizza located in the Vegetable Dishes section!
#6: When eating Mexican food, order 1 or 2 tacos and anything else a la carte (such as a green salad and black or pinto beans).
#7: Choose a leaner cut of meat such as sirloin or filet mignon when eating out. Fattier cuts are ribeye, Porterhouse, New York strip, T-bone or Prime Rib. Grilled chicken and fish are also great selections. We also ask where they get their meat and that is always an interesting conversation that leads us to make a decision!
#8: Choosing a main dish salad instead of a sandwich is a great choice. Choose restaurants that offer tons of chicken, nuts, beans and other toppings that will fill you up! Oh, and dressing on the side! I like to request salsa or hummus if available (or squeezed lemon).
#9: Double the veggies. Instead of potatoes, rice or pasta, ask for two sides of vegetables or an extra salad. For variety, check out the veggies that come with other entrees on the menu.
#10: Think petite. Look for appetizers, sandwiches, desserts, or other items restaurants call "small", "mini", "demi", or "treat" size. Think of them as normal size and everything else as supersized.
#11: Get salad dressing on the side. This is something I had adopted for a long time. Dip your fork into the salad dressing first, and then go for the salad. I always ask what their homemade dressings are and vinaigrettes. If all the ingredients are "real", that is a good sign! Fat free or low-fat versions usually means: additives, sugars and chemicals.
#12: No cheese, please. Restaurants squeeze cheese in or on nearly every salad, sandwich, pasta, taco and burger. I like to ask for no cheese or request a small side dish of cheese so you control where it goes and how much goes on it!