Diets are typically thrown out the window when it comes to eating out. But, being healthy can still happen even when you’re not doing your own meal prep. Most restaurants have enough gluten-free or vegetarian options to satisfy those with strict restrictions, that it’s easy to spot a low-carb or low-fat dish. Try these next time you’re dining out.
Salad with grilled protein and light dressing:
You’ve got your veggies and you’ve got your protein! Eating fresh and raw fruits and vegetables is the key to getting the most nutrients out of them; once they are cooked they lose a lot of their nutrients. By adding the protein, you guarantee yourself to be full for longer. Salads are great, but they are mostly water. Ask for a clear dressing; the cream based ones have more fat and that sort of defeats the purpose of eating healthy.
Split a few apps with your dining partner:
Nachos and flat breads and wings, oh my! These greasy finger foods are always a delicious choice, but eating a whole plate isn’t the best for your beach bod. Why not share? They usually pile those plates high, so there will be plenty to go around. Order a second, healthier option, like a hummus plate and you’ll have more snacks with less guilt.
Create your own meal with sides:
Sides are a great way to save money and to get all your cravings satisfied. You can get a side salad with some rice, a steamed veggie and mashed potatoes, a cup of soup and some fries. These portions are smaller, so they stop you from overeating, and it’s easy to add in the veggie, carb, or meat that you feel like you’re missing out on.
Pasta, light on the sauce:
When you order pasta, get it with a chunky tomato sauce or maybe some oil with spices, and don’t let your noodles drown in it. Just like with dressings, sauces are healthier for you when they aren’t cream or milk based. Carbs have long been seen as the enemy, but as long as you keep your portions under control, it won’t kill you. Once you’re full, stop eating!
Get your meal without the bread:
Whether it’s a burrito, sandwich, or burger, have them hold the bread! The filling is the good stuff anyway, so why not cut out the middle man? Typically these dishes come with a side of carbs; chips or fries, so there’s no need to double up on that. If you’re really trying to stick to a strict diet, ask for the seasonal veggie or a garden salad on the side in place of the chips or fries.
As a vegetarian, I’m always skirting around menus to try to create something that is a bit more enticing while still being healthy. These tricks have helped keep me on track with my diet and allow me to cheat when something looks really great! If 9 times out of 10, you’re playing by the rules, it’s totally acceptable to order the cheese fries or get a dessert.
Featured Image via Chopt Salad