Tips for Eating Healthy While Dining Out

TGIF or better known as ONIF (Oh No It's Friday!) in the health and fitness world! 

If you're like most people, you spend the work week focused on your nutrition. You make sacrifices, pack a salad for lunch, and skip the after-dinner desserts. But when the weekends come, LOOK OUT! It's time to binge! 

This downfall probably includes dining out at restaurants! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to eat out (especially on the weekends), but it's important to remember that you can undo a week's worth of progress with ONE meal! 

So here are my survival tips for dining out: 

1. Do your homework. 
Look up the restaurant menu beforehand. Find the nutrition info and mentally commit to ordering a healthy option. The more you know, the less likely you are to choose an unhealthy dish! 

2. Ask for modifications.

Don't be afraid to ask your server for modifications to make any meal healthier! 

  • Grilled instead of fried
  • Steamed without butter/oil
  • Sauce on the side
  • Balsamic vinaigrette instead of creamy Ranch
  • Mustard instead of mayo
  • Brown rice instead of white rice

3. Don't go famished!
When you are ridiculously hungry and your stomach is growling, you will most likely eat whatever the heck you want...and then regret it later! So if it can be avoided, don’t go to a restaurant when you are starving! Have a snack (or Shakeology) before you go! 

4. Be mindful of portions.

  • Entrée portions are usually 2-4 servings, so ask for a box as soon as your meal arrives. Pack half of it to go...outta sight, outta mind.
  • I usually order a soup and a salad OR a salad and an appetizer instead of an entrée. 

5. Say NO to the Bread, Chips, and Biscuits.
One breadstick at the Olive Garden is 140 calories and who eats just one?! Those biscuits at Red Lobster are 160 and loaded with tons of fat. Skip them and save your carbs for a better choice! 

6. Dip Don’t Pour.

  • Restaurants typically give a double serving of dressing, so always ask for it on the side, and avoid pouring it over your fresh greens. 
  • Take the tines of your fork, dip them into the dressing, then your salad. You will get all the flavor, but half the calories and fat. 
  • This same rule applies to Chinese food. Asked for the protein and veggies to be steamed and for the sauce to be served on the side. 

REMEMBER: it’s the small, seemingly insignificant choices that add up over time and yield long-term rewards!

What are your favorite tips for dining out?

Enjoy the weekend!