One of the great advantages of living in a large metropolitan area is easy access to great restaurants and food. Exploring interesting eateries and food trends can be cultural sport in cities like New York and DC. The best way to get a sense of a city is often through a taste of one. The problem is eating out too often can lead to unwanted weight gain. Restaurant dining doesn’t have to sabotage a well planned dietary program. When eating out, ensure yourself a healthy meal by employing the tips below.
As soon as you sit down at the table, don’t be shy about letting the waiter know if you have any dietary restrictions and assess how accommodating they’re willing to be. Most restaurants are happy to work with their customers to satisfy any health concerns they may have. If you get a sense that this is not the case, feel free to pick yourself up and leave.
When the waitstaff arrives to fill your water glass, do yourself a favor and request that the bread basket stay in the kitchen. Mindless nibbling on white rolls and breadsticks can needlessly add calories to your meal. If you opt for bread on the table, steer clear of the butter and oil. Although a small amount of olive oil is good for you, it’s still a fat and loaded with calories.
Stick with wine, champagne, or beer when ordering alcoholic beverages and avoid the sweet fruit drinks which have a lot more calories. Wine spritzers are a great alternative to a bottle of wine. Try simply adding more ice instead of ordering a second round.
Most restaurants will allow you to order a ½ portion of an entrée, but beware they may have a surcharge. Alternatively, consider something off the appetizer menu for your main meal. Anything on the half shell (oysters, clams, shrimp, lobster and crabmeats) are always good choices because they’re not cooked with any added fat or oil.
ALWAYS request dressings, sauces and condiments on the side. A salad may seem like a healthy choice until it takes a bath in too much oil and fat. Gravitate towards the steamed, broiled or grilled items on the menu. These cooking methods are the healthiest way to prepare foods and your heart, arteries and waistline will thank you in the long run.
Summon all your will power at the end of the meal when you come face to face with the dessert menu. Avoid desserts made from a cream base like crème brulee and anything in a pie crust. Choose sorbet over gelato, angel food cake, or meringue instead of decadent chocolates. Mixed berries and fruit (with a little whipped cream on the side) is always your best bet and sure to satisfy a sweet tooth.