Posted on 11 December, 2017

6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

By Sam Todd in Nutrition, Health, Lifestyle 6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

We’ve all been there.  All week, you have been the best you can be.  Food choices have been on point, and the scales might actually move down this week.  Then the dreaded invitation comes – “Do you want to go out to dinner this weekend?”  Whether for a celebration, date night, or a catch-up with friends, you are already thinking the worst.  “I will eat too much”, “This is where my hard work comes undone” or, worse, “Maybe I should just skip dinner altogether”.

I have been there.  I have even missed events before in order to “stick to my guns” and uphold my week of healthy eating.  Was I better off?  Well, no, not really.By worrying about my choices, and even skipping events, I have not done my mind any favours at all.  I could have really done with those catch-ups and the break from the daily stresses of life.

Even if you only apply one of these tips, you are doing a great job.

Luckily, I picked this personal fault up sooner rather than later, and have come up with strategies to use to be the healthiest me when I am out at a restaurant.  They come down to six main tips, which I want to share with you, too!

6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a Restaurant

1. Do your research

Once you know where you are going for dinner, or if you are in charge of choosing, do your research.  Most places have their menus online which you can peruse before you get there.  Being prepared means you will know what you want, what the healthier options are, and will be less pressured into picking the “easy option” on the night (which might not be the healthiest!).

2. Get a table water

When you arrive, make sure there is water at the table, and get drinking!  Studies show that drinking water before a meal will make you less likely to over-eat, and you’ll be contributing to your daily intake as well.

3. Skip the entrée

As tempting as an entrée may be, these are often the unhealthiest options on the menu, with lots of bread, fried food and salty sauce involved.  If you really don’t want to sit through everyone having an entrée before you, as for your main meal to come out when the starters are served.

4. Order an entrée-sized main

Restaurant meals are big!  They are often 2 or 3 times the size of a suggested serving.  If you want a meal that you know is going to be large, why not ask for the entrée or the “seniors” size?  That way, you will still get to enjoy your delicious meal without over-eating.  If the restaurant does not do a smaller size, ask for them to serve half of it to you, then give you the other half in a container to take home for dinner tomorrow!

5. Be the designated driver

Catching up with family and friends often means there will be alcohol.  If you are super calorie-conscious at the moment, or you have a big gym session in the morning, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to not drink at all.  Make yourself the designated driver – your mates will be grateful and you’ll feel much better for it in the morning.

6. Share a dessert

It would be completely unrealistic to assume you will go to a restaurant and NOT have a peak at the dessert menu.  And why not?  Restaurant desserts are, after all, a reason for living.  If you absolutely must have that crème brûlée, or chocolate mud cake, don’t resist it, share it!  Desserts can be shared between 2, 3, or even 4 people.  So go on, indulge!

So there they are – my own personal tips for being a healthier you while eating out at a restaurant.  Although logical, they can be hard to apply given the social circumstance.  Even if you only apply one of these tips, you are doing a great job.  And, if the occasion is rare, and you don’t want to hold back, then by all means indulge yourself!  There is always tomorrow to get back on track.  So eat, drink and enjoy!

[Image source: The Lazy Dietician]

About Sam Todd

About Sam Todd

Sam is a mother of two, a personal trainer and a positive body image enthusiast.  Her hobbies include running, mucking about in the gym and watching her Melbourne Demons play.

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6 Tips for Eating Healthy at a RestaurantA quick start guide to losing weight and staying on track. Learn the strategies I use to eat and move for optimal health. Includes worksheets to enhance your motivation, commitment and discipline, along with a sample eating plan and exercise program.