As a nation we eat out between 4 to 5 times per week, and an average restaurant meal can pack 1,205 calories! Try these tips to continue to dine out while sticking to your weight management goals.
Omelets: Save calories and still feel full by loading up on veggies and go light on the cheese. Skip high calorie meats like bacon and ham. Consider asking for an omelet made with 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white (or egg substitute) to further reduce calories. Don’t forget the oil that most restaurants use to cook the omelet in, ask for non-stick spray instead.
Fruit and yogurt bowl: Restaurant parfaits can be surprisingly high in calories, due to too much honey, granola, nuts… all of which are calorie dense. Instead make your own parfait by ordering a fruit salad, side of fat-free or light yogurt, and side of cereal or granola. Combine, and voila, instant healthy parfait!
Lunch and Dinner
Start with Soup: Studies show that starting a meal with a broth-based soup leads to taking in fewer calories during that meal. Great options are vegetable, tomato, chicken, or minestrone soups which are all packed with protein and fiber.
Personalize your protein: Instead of asking for ingredients to be omitted from a calorie-laden dish, another strategy is to ask for what you do want as your meal, even if it is not on the menu exactly. For example, baked fish with lemon, steamed veggie of the day, side of brown rice can all be combined to create your dish, as long as these ingredients are available in house.
Think Out of the Box: Shrimp cocktail is one of the best appetizers that you might not even consider for a meal. Pair it with an entrée-sized dinner salad or a healthy side dish, and you’re ready to enjoy a delicious and low calorie meal!
Salad tweaks: Scrumptious low calorie salads are the ones loaded with veggies and lean protein. If needed, ask to leave off croutons, fried noodles, candied nuts, and to go light on the cheese. Opt for oil and vinegar or low-fat/light dressing on the side.
Sandwich hack: A surprising amount of calories come in the bread of the sandwich. Consider opting for a lettuce bun or ditch the top bun half or bread slice. This will likely save you at least 100 calories. Great sandwich proteins include grilled chicken, tuna, and lean cold cuts. For condiments, skip the mayo, and go for mustard and/or ketchup. Remember to load up on veggies to help feel full. Lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, the options are huge here!
Steamed veggie upgrade: Spice up a side of plain steamed veggies with marinara sauce, lemon wedges, balsamic vinegar, or salsa. Yum!
Restaurant desserts can be calorie bombs, easily in the 1,000-calorie range. The best option is to ask the server for a side of fruit and pair with a cup of tea or coffee. If that just won’t do, consider asking for a kid’s size ice cream portion. If you really decide you want to indulge, go ahead and share a dessert with your dining companion, then the calories can easily be reduced in half, good job!
Looking for more ideas and for support with healthy eating? Contact the dietitians at Waverley Oaks to schedule an appointment today! We accept all major health insurance plans. Email: email@example.com
This blog post was adapted from The Hungry Girl website, https://www.hungry-girl.com/go-to-guides/restaurant-hacks.