People often ask me about making better choices when eating out. After all, we are a fast food nation with a different restaurant on every corner. While it is almost always a better choice to eat at home, the reality is that that is not always possible. Sometimes it is just unavoidable (like when travelling) and your only options are less-than-desirable. But a fast food meal does not need to sabotage your healthy eating! A few simple tips can help you make better choices and keep you on track.
1. Don’t supersize. Employees often try to up-sell your meal and it seems like a good value. But the calories and fat are not worth it!
2. Think grilled, not fried. While grilled foods are not always ideal depending on how they are flavored, deep-fried breaded foods are generally always fat bombs.
3. Hold the mayo and dressing on the side. Choose carefully when adding mayo and dressings. Even a healthy, low calorie salad can be ruined by the wrong dressing. Instead of mayo, opt for mustard or avocado. Avocado adds heart healthy fats.
4. Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants. While it may be cost-effective to be able to load up multiple plates, there is no need to eat that many calories in a single sitting.
5. Balance fast food meals with other food choices. One meal will not make or break your overall healthy eating. Sticking with the 80/20 rule of eating healthy 80% of the time is a good rule to follow.
6. Split your order. Most portion sizes at restaurants are huge, way too much for a single person. Split your meal with a friend or ask for a to-go box and box up half your plate.
7. Bring your lunch. Many people eat fast food for lunch during the work day. Bringing your lunch at least a couple of times a week allows you to control the food you eat and will save you a bunch of money and calories.
How do you make healthier choices when you eat at a restaurant?