Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Eating out without Blowing It -- Part 1

Guest Healthy Foodie Alexis Bonari has some great tips for us about how to eat out -- which Americans do an average of at least four times a week -- without sabotaging our healthy-eating principles. I'm posting Part 1 today, with Part 2 to follow within a few days. Thanks, Alexis!

Tips and Tricks for Eating Out: Sticking to Your Healthy Food Ethic

If you’ve been working hard to maintain a healthy diet, you certainly don’t want to blow everything on a restaurant, no matter how delicious the cuisine might be. Although it’s usually best to avoid eating out, when you’re at that inevitable lunch date or birthday dinner, there are plenty of ways to make sure you stick to your healthy foodie guns. Check out the following advice for making the most out of the healthy options in any restaurant.


If you know you’re going out to eat, grab a healthy snack just before you leave. This will keep you from ordering an appetizer and will help minimize your frustration if your friends dig into one. Try something light but substantial, such as apple slices with a little peanut butter or half of a bagel with low-fat cream cheese. Yogurt is also a great choice, but you might want to add some carrot sticks to keep something in your stomach while the appetizers make the rounds at your table. While you’re preparing your snack, think about what you’re going to order. If you’re unfamiliar with the restaurant, look it up online and check out the menu to figure out what you’ll order. Making the decision before you get to the restaurant can help keep you on track with your healthy diet by minimizing temptation.

Get Specific

Make sure you’re familiar with everything about the dish you’re ordering. Ask questions if anything seems vague and don’t apologize for your “picky” behavior. It’s your prerogative to order exactly what you need from a restaurant. Once you know what you’re getting into, order all sauces and dressings on the side to avoid consuming too much of them. Many dishes arrive drenched in potentially fatty, cream-based sauces and dressings like ranch or bleu cheese that can ruin your diet. Don’t order anything fried; instead, inform the waiter that you’d like the dish grilled, broiled, steamed, or cooked in a similar healthy way. Often, menus will let you know when you have multiple preparation options like these.

Coming soon: Minimizing liquid calories and being mindful of your portions

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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