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8 Healthy Tips for Dining Out


8 Healthy Tips for Dining Out

Dining out? Have no fear - your healthy diet doesn’t need to suffer! Follow these 8 tips to navigate restaurants with ease.

It’s no surprise that restaurant food may not be the healthiest food. But there’s no sense in skipping social events or a romantic dinner out just to maintain your healthy diet. Just plan ahead and make use of these eight tips!

1. Beware of salads

A salad doesn’t guarantee a healthy option. Some have creamy dressings or unnecessary extras such as crispy wontons or tortilla strips. Modify your salad by asking for vinaigrette or dressing on the side, and skip the fried extras entirely.

2. Pack it up

Set aside half of your entrée for tomorrow’s lunch. Some restaurants may even be willing to do this for you before it arrives on your plate, saving you from exercising your willpower.

3. Do your research

Many restaurants post menus, or even nutritional facts, online. Take a few minutes to peruse the options first, and make your selection. Generally, standard rules apply: deep-fried is a no-no, veggie-based options are great. Also consider sodium levels, which can skyrocket in some Asian-inspired dishes, such as stir-fries.

4. Have a glass of water

Are you really as hungry as you think? You could be thirsty. Have a tall glass of water before your meal—you may be less likely to eat as much or feel as hungry.

5. Focus on mindful eating

Take smaller bites, chew for longer, and listen to the conversations around you. Focus on the smells, presentation, and flavour of your food and take the time to truly savour your meal. If you don’t rush, you’ll be less likely to overeat and feel stuffed afterward.

6. Look for buzzwords

Foods that have been “steamed,” “grilled,” or “baked” are generally better options than “fried,” “crispy,” or “creamy.”

7. Modify

Don’t be afraid to ask how a dish is prepared, and make modifications accordingly, such as opting for grilled rather than deep-fried chicken on a salad.

8. Be choosy

If it’s a special occasion, choose a drink or dessert (to share)—but not both. But remember, only eat until you’re full: finishing your plate is not necessary.



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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD