Whether you want to socialize, take a break from cooking or simply want to try a new cuisine, dining out can be fun and exciting. Sometimes however, it can be challenging to maintain your healthy eating habits. The good news is you can take worry out of the equation and take pleasure in dining out. The following tips will help you navigate your way through the next time you choose to have a meal away from home:
Drinking a glass of water before a meal can create a feeling of satiety, which means less food intake. One study in overweight/obese middle-aged adults showed that drinking about 17 ounces (500 ml) of water before a meal facilitated with weight loss. Choosing to drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, like juice or soda, can also prevent intake of extra calories.
Fill up on Fiber
Instead of filling up on bread, chips, rice and other starchy foods, make greens the main star. Choose a salad, vegetable soup, or dish where non-starchy veggies are the main component. Fiber increases satiety and can help prevent overeating. Beans and legumes, such as lentils, also contain lots of fiber and other nutrients to keep you feeling full.
Restaurants often serve large portions, so be mindful of how much you’re really eating. Split the meal with a friend, or ask your server to give you half the portion then take the rest home.
Choose your Sides
Instead of a side order of fries, rice or another starch, ask for greens. Vegetables are packed with fiber, minerals and vitamins that can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. One study published in the British Medical Journal showed that consuming one and a half extra servings of green leafy vegetables a day reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 14%.
Power of Protein
Protein has also been shown to increase satiety. Choose meals that contain foods such as eggs, meat, fish, seafood and plant-based sources of protein like legumes and beans. Instead of choosing a dish with starch as the main component, make protein and greens the main stars.
Forgo Fried Foods
The way food is prepared can impact how many calories you consume. Try to limit foods that describe the dish as “fried,” “crispy,” or “crunchy.” Choosing dishes that are baked, roasted, grilled, steamed or poached are healthier choices.
Be Mindful of Sauces
Salad dressings and other sauces often contain hidden sugars, salt and starch. Order sauces on the side and choose simple salad dressings of olive oil, lemon, and balsamic vinegar.