Lately, working life of most of us has been becoming more and more busy, leaving us no time at all for our private life, families, healthy lifestyle, and other extremely important things. Very often we do not have time for cooking at home and prefer eating in restaurants. Dining out has become something usual for most of the population in Europe and North America, and it is estimated by the experts at the National Restaurant Association that an average family in the US eats out four times a week, spending in average about $1,117 per year per person. Definitely, this money could be used for savings provided eating more healthy at home more often. Plus, dining out is closely linked to increased risks of obesity, digestive system problems, and many other health conditions.
Those who really have no opportunity to benefit from healthy home cooking and have to eat out frequently, but are concerned about own health and body weight should know some easy rules to follow when choosing a restaurant, choosing meals and so on. It is possible to eat out successfully and healthy with a few effective tips in mind. Check out our list of 10 rules for dining out, and use them every time you’re going to visit a restaurant.
1. Learn as much as possible about the restaurant you’re going to go before you actually go there. Nowadays, most of the restaurants and dining places have webpages where one can see what dishes are being served, and how many of those look healthy. You can choose what you’re going to eat much before you actually get to the restaurant. Also, you’ll get a chance to make healthier choice as to the very place, its location, environment, etc.
2. Avoid dining out with overweight friends. According to the findings of scientists from Radboud University in the Netherlands, we tend to copy eating patterns of our companions and eat as much as they eat. That is why those who want to avoid overeating and reduce the risks of obesity should rather choose companions from those people who eat quite little.
3. Find a calm and quiet place. It is one of the most important rules for dining out without increasing risks of putting on weight, because we always tend to eat more when we’re watching TV or when we’re exposed to some other entertaining activities. Eating slowly and quietly is the only healthy way to enjoy and take maximum benefits from what we are eating.
4. Do not feel shy to ask questions about the meal ingredients and the technologies used for cooking. Ask the waiter about everything you wonder about the dish: how is it prepared, what ingredients are used, is it a low-fat dish, what comes with it, etc. etc. This will help you make healthier choices as to meals.
5. Do not go for more than 2-3 courses. If you can, sticking with 2 courses (like a vegetable soup and some grilled meat dish, or some vegetable salad and a light dessert) can be the smartest idea. Though this is not one of the main rules for dining out (since making healthy choices can be more important), keep this one in mind, too.
6. Avoid using fatty sauces or unhealthy appetizers. Many restaurants provide quite unhealthy appetizers, some include fatty foods, bread with salsa, etc. Remember that appetizers is something that you do not have to eat, especially if you’ve ordered full meal, much healthier and better to taste.
7. Choose salads, vegetable soups, fruits, or meals cooked in healthy ways (grilled, roasting, baking, steaming, etc.). No comment here, just be sure that your salad has a low-calorie dressing, and your soup in not a creamy one.
8. Practice portion control. A great number of restaurants have really mega-size portions, serve mountains of foods and stimulate overeating. If the portions are too big, you can practice sharing your meal, or asking to pack the rest of your food in order to finish it later on. Remember that you should eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re stuffed and hate yourself.
9. Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption has plenty of risks and unwanted effects, but containing too many calories is the most important one for those who want to reduce the risks of obesity while dining out. Control your alcohol consumption and try not to go beyond 1-2 glasses of high quality red wine which is considered healthy and acceptable.
10. Choose fruit and healthy desserts. Ending up your meal with something sweet is a very good idea, so do not strictly avoid having some dessert to round up your lunch or dinner. However, keep to some low calorie choices, like a serving of sweet fruits, light pumpkin pie, cinnamon baked apples, banana pudding, a small slice of cheesecake, a couple of low-calorie mini-muffins, some small low-calorie strawberry or cherry tarts, and so on.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.