Monday, 14 February 2011

How to Eat Out, and Eat Healthy!

If you're trying to eat healthy, you probably know that it can be difficult when you want to eat out. You don't know how the restaurant has prepared the food, if they've added extra unhealthy ingredients, how much fat and how many calories it had to begin with, and so on.
Some restaurants have responded to the demands for healthier food items on the menu and this includes even fast food restaurants. However these choices are still limited and may not be the tastiest. So when you eat out, it's important to pay attention to the options you have and to make the healthiest choices you can.
You absolutely must take the initiative to eat as healthy as you can at a restaurant. There's no reason you shouldn't ask how a dish is prepared or what ingredients they use when cooking, if it doesn't state plainly on the menu. If the server isn't sure, ask them to ask the cook or chef. Typically they should be happy to share that information with you and if you ask them to omit certain things, they should be happy to accommodate. This is true for not just low fat requests but also low sodium, low sugar, and so on. They should want their customers to be happy!
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when eating out and wanting to eat healthy as well: Look for options that are baked, grilled, or broiled. Anything fried, especially deep fried, should be avoided. And if you're not sure how the dish is cooked, ask!
You watch your portion sizes at home, so why not when eating out? Choose the smaller cut of steak and ask for a child's portion, or share a portion of something with someone. Forego that dessert or again, share! And ask for leaner cuts of the meat if possible.
For side dishes, steamed veggies are always better than just about anything. They're low in fat and low in calories. Avoid those that are fried, served with cheese or butter or a cream sauce.
Fat free dressing on the salad is always a good idea as well. Most restaurants have low fat or fat free salad dressings. If not, ask that they serve the dressing on the side so that you can control how much actually winds up on your salad.
Broth based soups are always better than creamy soups such as cream of broccoli. A vegetable soup is a healthy choice for an appetizer.
Forego the fries and opt for fresh fruit or a baked potato. If you don't see the option on the menu, ask if you can substitute.
When ordering Italian dishes, remember that tomato sauces are almost always healthier than the cream sauces or Alfredo sauce. Pesto sauce is also good, especially without meat.
For Oriental dishes, steamed rice and stir fried vegetables are a good option. Heavy sauces should be avoided and your meal should be prepared without heavy oil either. You can also opt for dishes that contain more vegetables and less meat as well.
If you must have dessert, try a fruit salad or sorbet. And if you must have something else, share your portion with someone!
And fast food restaurants can be the worst choices for healthy eating, but if you do eat there remember to watch your portions. It may seem cheaper to get the largest meal but remember that your price is not always the main consideration. And if you can find healthier alternatives to burgers and tacos such as salads and baked potatoes, choose those instead.
Eating out does present its challenges to those who are trying to eat healthy, but you shouldn't need to stop eating out altogether. Whether it's your schedule or just something you enjoy doing, you don't need to give up restaurants to be healthy. Use these guidelines and some common sense and you can eat healthy even when eating out.
For a guide to losing weight get your free report, "The Seven Personal Trainer Secrets to Weight Loss" visit

Anu Morgan - EzineArticles Expert Author