Eating out healthy can be hard. There are calories that are bad fats and simple carbohydrates.They are hiding in what seems to be a healthier selection. Here are a few suggestions that should make ordering out easier for health conscious individuals.
You can be sure that the cheeses and other dairy products that you keep at home are lower fat. Healthier selections in restaurants are usually full-fat American or cheddar cheese. Mozzarella is usually lower in fat. But, if you want to be sure, just skip the cheese. It does not really add that much flavor, anyway.
No Fried Foods
When you order fish or chicken, choose baked or grilled, not fried. A baked potato is healthier than French fried potatoes, but not if you smother it in butter, sour cream and cheese. Without those, the baked potato is pretty tasteless.
Look at the other options for side dishes. Many restaurants now offer grilled veggies or broccoli. If nothing else is available, choose a regular salad as a side dish with light Italian dressing.
Skip the Biscuits
Most restaurants use partially hydrogenated oils, lard or vegetable shortening to make biscuits and other baked goods. Those are the fatty acids that you may have heard a lot about recently. Some of the better restaurants are trying to make eating out healthy and easier, by leaving out the fats. Ask your server whether or not the cooks use fats to be sure.
Choose Healthier Restaurants
In addition to making healthier menu selections, you can be picky about which restaurants you frequent. If the specialty is fried fish, french fries, hamburgers or hot dogs, you might not be able to find anything nourishing and good-tasting to eat.
Nutrition fact sheets make eating out healthy easier, if you take the time to read them. Look for the high protein, low fat options, but check out the kind of fat, too. If it is mostly polyunsaturated fat, as would be the case with salmon or mackerel, then it is much healthier than the saturated fat found in other meats and dairy products.
Use Care at the Salad Bar
Salad bars and all you can eat buffets contribute to overeating. In fact, most restaurant sized portions are two or three times larger than what a nutrition fact sheet will refer to as a portion.
If you do choose the salad bar, stay away from the prepared salads, such as coleslaw and potato salad. Load up your plate with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, onions, celery, pickled beets, sesame seeds, cucumbers and other fresh vegetables. Choose vinaigrette for dressing and skip the croutons.
Eating out healthy is sometimes like preparing your meals at home, in that the key may be making substitutions. For example, if you are eating at a restaurant that serves rice, opt for the brown or wild, rather than the white rice.
There are other tricks that make eating out healthy easier. But, hopefully, the basics included here will get you started in the right direction.