Who doesn’t love going out to eat? Not only is it a chance to get ahold of some delicious food that you don’t have to make yourself, it’s also innately social. Spending time with friends or family or catching up with the group often happens over lunch – or a meal out.
But, what if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight? While the occasional lunch out is unlikely to make much of a dent in your weight loss plan, if you find that you’re eating out frequently, those extra large portions may start adding up.
The good news, though, is that you don’t have to give up going out to eat, and you don’t have to subject yourself to unhealthy food! There are healthy options and solutions wherever you go - you just have to know what to look for.
If you’re looking for ways to make eating out a bit healthier and still hassle free, here’s how you can get a lower calorie and somewhat nutritious lunch.
Browse The Menu
You don’t have to choose the chef’s special that’s dripping with unhealthy fats and loaded with carbs. Take the time to look closely at the menu, looking for something that packs some nutrition instead of just calories. Salmon or other fish is usually a healthy option, provided you avoid the deep fried fish and chips. Salads are another healthy choice – just use half the dressing or request dressing on the side. Soup, risotto, and vegetable-based dishes can also be healthy options. While the menu probably won’t list out all the fats and calories included, you can gain a pretty good idea just based on the main ingredients that are listed.
Think Portion Sizes
Portion sizes at restaurants can be huge. Instead trying to clear your plate, eat slowly and stop when you are full. Or, have the waiter box half of your food before bringing it to you. You could also share a dish with someone to save calories... And money! You may also want to consider ordering an appetizer and pair your choice up with a side salad for a more proportionate meal.
Swap ‘Em Out
Often, restaurants allow substitutions. This is a great way to reduce the amount of unhealthy food you are eating. Swapping fries for a salad, for example, is a great way to save some calories.
Remember: eating out is supposed to be fun! You shouldn’t have to shy away from lunches out because you’re worried you won’t be able to find something that’s in line with your diet. If in doubt – or if the restaurant doesn’t have anything that’s suitable – you can always choose drinks or order something small. Then, enjoy the experience without feeling guilty. Bon appétit!