If you and your family love to eat at restaurants, you may think that this lifestyle is not good for a healthy diet. In many cases, you would be correct. However, you can still enjoy restaurants occasionally and maintain your healthy diet. It’s all about making good food choices, which starts with learning about the nutrition you need to stay happy, physically healthy, mentally stable, and active.
When you pick up the menu, start by skipping over the drink section. Although you may be tempted to enjoy a beer or mixed beverage with your dinner, these usually have many empty calories, which is not good for your body. The exception to this rule when it comes to alcohol is wine, especially red wine, which can be fine if you have a single glass and can actually help prevent heart disease for some patients.
Also skip over the appetizer menu, unless it’s to order a side salad. The appetizers at restaurants are usually high-fat foods that are not meant to fill you up and can in fact make you crave even more high fat foods. Examples of these are mozzarella sticks, potato skins, and wings. Instead, simply focus on your main course or, if you must indulge, share a single serving with the entire table of people.
When choosing your main dish, it is of course important that you look at the ingredients of the dish. Anything with cream sauces or high-fat meats should be avoided, and pass up the potatoes or onion rings. Instead order side dishes like vegetables or ask for just the main course when possible.
Remember too that portion is everything. Order off of the lunch menu whenever you can, or ask for a doggie bag right away. Split your meal in half from the start so that you are not tempted to eat the entire thing. These days restaurant portions are usually enough for two or three people.
At the end of your meal, skip over the desert menu, just like you did with the appetizers. Again, you can share a single desert with the entire table if you feel compelled to order something, or split your portion in half. Many fancy desserts at restaurants have more calories than your entire meal, so keep this in mind before you flag down the waitress to put in an order! Of course, on special occasions, it’s alright to cheat a little, but overall healthy eating requires lots of resisting the temptation around you.
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