Eating away from home can be challenging as it makes it hard to keep track of the ingredients, calories, portion sizes, and even budgeting for your meals.
Moreover, it could also interfere with any healthy or nutrition-based diets.
But do not fear, we’re here to give you some helpful tips that will allow you to enjoy meals outside of your home without guilt or breaking your pockets.
Here are seven tips to keep you healthy while enjoying meals away from your kitchen:
Before dining out, check the restaurant’s website for its menu and review it carefully.
This may help you figure out the healthiest options and help you establish a budget for spending.
When reviewing the menu, limit options that are deep-fried. Dishes that are fried or deep-fried, likely contain unhealthy fats or high amounts of salt.
Instead consider items that are grilled, baked, roasted, or steamed.
It is also helpful to ask your server how the food item is prepared and any “secret” ingredients such as the type of oil or fat used to prepare the dish (e.g. butter vs. margarine, lard vs olive oil).
Condiments, sauces, spreads, and some dressings may be packed with unhealthy fats and salt. Ask for these items on the side, so that you have control over the amount used as well as the flavor of your food.
Starting your meal with veggies, such as steamed broccoli or a fresh salad, will help you feel full sooner.
In addition, you’ll be getting a host of nutrients. If you still feel hungry after your meal, consider requesting another portion of veggies.
They’re low in calories and provide fiber which keeps you regular.
Many restaurants offer larger-than-normal portion sizes.
Over time, this could affect your weight. Consider splitting your meal with a loved one or saving half of it for lunch the next day.
You can also ask the restaurant to provide a half portion.
It may take a little creativity and thinking, but the MyPlate guide can be a helpful guide to making healthy meal choices.
For example, a MyPlate guided dinner meal might include: a grilled chicken sandwich topped with lettuce and tomatoes on a whole grain bun (if available) and a side of steamed broccoli, followed by a fruit parfait using low-fat yogurt for dessert.
You’ll gain all five food groups in one delicious meal!
Good food safety practices will keep you healthy and away from foodborne illness.
One way to avoid food poisoning while eating out is to order food that is properly cooked.
Items like meat, chicken, pork, and seafood should be cooked to temperatures that are high enough to kill harmful germs. If you receive food that appears undercooked, send it back immediately.
Proper food handling practices are also important. Check out the restaurant’s latest inspection report at your local health department’s website, to see how well they’ve been doing; or observe staff for proper safe practices such as the use of utensils when serving food, or the availability of proper hand washing facilities.
Above all, don’t forget to simply enjoy your meal!
Thinking of hosting a fun party with friends and family? Consider making one of these easy and tasty recipes:
Vegetable Medley with Salsa Dip
Interested in learning more about meal planning or food safety? Our Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables program provides free, exciting workshops on a host of nutrition and wellness topics. Email our nutritionist, Alyssa Advincula for more information: email@example.com.
For other nutrition questions or inquires, e-mail our nutrition resource manager, Monique Marshall at: firstname.lastname@example.org.