Most of us love to eat out. There is no greater joy than in exploring sumptuous exotic recipes across the world. Just enjoying a meal with family and friends over some hot gossip and shared laughter can turn out to be one of the best experiences ever. But regular eating out at restaurants can have a downside too, you end up eating more than you thought you would, and the not-so-healthy ingredients can make you put on excess weight and impair your health goals.
So, should you stop eating out at all? No, that’s not a practical solution. You can eat out, but be mindful of certain things that can help you stay fit and healthy in the long run. Yes, it is possible to have both, enjoy good food and also keep a hawk’s eye on your waistline. Here’s how.
Check the Menu Online
Most popular restaurants nowadays post their menus online. Please browse through the menu to decide which restaurant offers what menu and whether it suits your current fitness and health goals. When you plan before coming to the restaurant, you will be less tempted to try out the more unhealthy options, read fries and the ilk.
However, don’t think salads are great for you. At least some salads aren’t as they are full of sugar and mayonnaise and other not-so-healthy stuff. Some restaurants even list out their calorie count. So stick, to the basics, know the ingredients of the dishes and only then order the same. Some restaurants also have lighter options for the standard menu. All you have to do is find about them and then order the same.
If eating out is not a regular affair, you can order from some upscale restaurants too. Yes, the prices may turn out to be a bit steep, but they may have a lot of healthier stuff on their menu card. Also, they offer lesser portions.
You end up eating less and not get the bursting at the seams feeling you get when you eat out. Most people think, let’s eat today, and we’ll start dieting from tomorrow. Well, that tomorrow never comes, so eat adequate and enjoy every morsel.
Sometimes waiting in the serpentine queues outside a restaurant can be agonizing. Your protesting tummy may make life miserable for you. Not only that, you sit down and feel you could eat everything you see on the table even more. So, reserve a table before you arrive, so you can eat at leisure and not make bad ordering decisions. Or you can eat something before you go restaurant hunting. It would help if you preferred something protein-rich that can offer solace to your grumbling tummy.
Avoid Seat by the Kitchen
Reading calorie-laden entrees on the menu is something, and it is a different ball game to look at its presented glory. Sitting at a table by the kitchen may give you the perfect view of every dish served at the table. You may want to avoid such temptations, especially if you are starving.
Order Salad First
Load up on healthy fiber before a meal. A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that volunteers who chomped on a large vegetable salad before their main dish ate far less than they otherwise would. Please keep it simple and avoid sinful dressings and settle for simple oil and vinegar.
Also, however tempting it may seem to you, avoid the cheese and croutons. Ensure you fill up your plate with veggies. This will give you better choices to make.
Watch Yourself in the Mirror
Restaurants lined with mirrors may make you eat far less. Researchers at the University of Central Florida studied 185 students who ate either a fruit salad or a piece of chocolate cake. Some of the participants ate in a room full of mirrors, and some ate in a mirrorless room.
The subjects who ate the chocolate cake in the mirror-filled room ate far less than the other ones. Researchers believe looking at a mirror may help you to judge yourselves more. Imagine eating in a dining room with a mirror all around. You may not eat as much as you would have thought you would. Looking at yourself may stop you from stuffing yourself.
So, you see, it isn’t that difficult to eat healthy at restaurants. Just follow these tips, and you are good to go.