Is Eating Out a Healthy Option?
When you are trying to lose weight or seeking a healthier lifestyle it may seem like extra calories and fat are lurking around every corner waiting for you to become distracted before they sneak onto your plate. This is especially true when you eat out, as you can’t really be sure of what is being placed in front of you. It is because of this that when people are trying to lose weight they avoid eating out as much as humanly possible.
But losing weight doesn’t have to hamper your social life and if you take certain precautions you can continue to ingest healthy foods even at your local fast food restaurant, it’s just a matter of having a little will power and knowing what to pick. It’s quite a simple premise, if you want to cut down on carbs and fats, and you can’t resist the temptation of a steaming plate of ravioli with cheese, stay away from Italian restaurants. On the other hand, if you choose a place that also offers salads, fish and a nice variety of healthy foods, you won’t find yourself choosing things you shouldn’t eat.
1. Choose your feeding ground wisely
While simply picking your favorite restaurant for a night out may seem like the easiest thing to do, it’s always a better idea to do your research before you head out. These days most restaurants have posted their menus on their websites and include detailed nutritional information for each dish. By doing some research before settling on a specific location, you will be able to stick to your weight loss plan and will have a good idea of what you will ask for and how much you will end up paying. This works in your favor by helping you stay on your diet and keeping you within your budget.
2. Choosing what you will eat before you leave
Expanding on the previous point, selecting what type of food you will eat, whether you want a specific entrée, what drinks you will have and if your calorie count allows for any dessert or not, will allow you to stick to your guns and prevent the temptation of ordering food you will regret in the morning. While it may seem like a lot of planning, you must remember that losing weight is just that, a plan.
3. Split a plate, cut down on calories
Many restaurants have the habit of serving very large portions, which can become the bane of those trying to lose weight. Instead of wasting half the food on your plate, ask them to pack you a doggie bag and take it home for the next day. Better yet, ask the restaurant to split your entrée and share it with your companion. This will help you stay within your limits and save some money on the bill. When you are asking for a salad or an entrée that comes with dressing or sauce, most of which are high in calories, request they be served separately, so you can have some control on the calories you ingest from those elements.
4. The early bird catches the worm
Going out to dinner at an earlier hour can fulfill a dual purpose, on one hand you will have more time to digest your food before going to bed, which means your body will burn off a few calories instead of storing them in the form of fat. But, besides this, in many cases the chef at a restaurant will be more likely to work with you on any special requests you may have, which in the end will provide you with a healthier meal than what you would normally have when you go to dinner during the busiest hours of the day.
Regardless of what your personal preference may be, eating out is always a treat, so don’t forget to give yourself a day off from your diet once in a while and plan an outing that is not only healthy but also fun. Taking some time for a game of mini golf or a walk in the park after dinner will also help you burn off some of the extra calories you may have ingested, and make sure you know exactly what you are putting in your mouth before you and your scale regret it. After all, having an evening out on the town should not be a cause for straying from your goal of living a healthier life and losing the extra weight you’ve been carrying around for so long. Salads, low carb entrees and plenty of protein are always good choices, and while a glass of wine can be a healthy choice over carbonated drinks, make sure you keep it to the bare minimum and don’t go overboard.