We all love going out to eat. Whether it is at a steakhouse, Italian
restaurant, sub shop, pizza shop, or even a Mexican restaurant, we all
look forward to a meal we don't have to cook. Sometimes we are craving
to go out to eat out and hangout with our friends and family, and that
is okay! This shouldn't mean that have to not go in order to achieve
your goals or to have to put your goals on the backburner for success.
As Registered dietitians and nutrition coaches that specialize in weight loss, we LOVE talking about this and teaching you how to navigate it all!
Do you ever wonder how you can still meet your nutritional goals while
going out to eat? We've got you!
Just like when you're eating at home, the key to eating healthy while
eating out is to make sure you have a protein, a color, and a carb on
Let’s start with going out to eat at a steakhouse! You are most likely
going to get a steak and some sides. Steak is a great source of
protein and iron! If you aren’t feeling steak, they may also have
chicken as a protein source on their menu. If you're ordering a
steak, try to get a cut that is leaner, like Strip Steak or a Filet to
cut down on saturated fat as well as increase the protein. A common
side at a steakhouse is mashed potatoes. Try swapping this out for a
baked potato! To this you can add your steak, and you can control how
much butter or sour cream you want to put on it or other toppings. To
this, adding another side of vegetables like roasted broccoli or
asparagus is a great option for some color! You can also add this to
your baked potato as well.
Another great way to pick healthier options at restaurants is by
picking food options that have the words boiled, steamed, or roasted
instead of fried. This is a great way to reduce the amount of calories
in your meal since oil is high in fat. This can be applied to
steakhouses, Italian restaurants, and even Mexican restaurants as
Another great way to make your meals while eating out healthier is
getting sauces on the side. For example, at Italian or Mexican
restaurants most meals come with sauce or dressing like salads. Try
asking for this on the side so you can add the amount you want. Most
of the sauces and dressings are high in fat and calories. By
controlling how much you are putting on your food, you can limit how
much you are consuming. You can also look for vegetable based sauces
rather than creamy/rich sauces to aid in lower fat intake.
Next up let’s talk about pizza. We all love pizza but how can we make
it a balanced and healthy meal? First, it is important to remember
that you can have pizza and still meet your nutritional goals. After
you choose the pizza of your liking, try adding a vegetable or two as
a topping and include a protein! Adding vegetables as toppings can
help with decreasing fat and increasing fiber. You can either do these
as toppings or sides! For example, a plain slice with peppers, onions,
and mushrooms with a side of grilled chicken! These extra
toppings/sides will help keep you full and give you a nutritious meal.
Try ordering a salad to pair with it, too!
Next let’s talk about sub shops. We all love a good sub whether it is
from Subway, or Jersey Mikes, etc. They are convenient and delicious.
One great way to make your sub a healthier option is by adding on more
veggies. Try adding onions, pickles, bell peppers, and more! You can
also swap out a higher fat meat like beef for turkey or chicken. Many
sub shops also have different types of bread! Trying out the whole
grain or even multigrain options will give you extra fiber, nutrients,
and keep you fuller for longer.
Finally, portion sizes are also important to look out for. Most
restaurants are giving you more than one serving. It is important to
make sure you are listening to your fullness and hunger cues. You can
always bring whatever you don’t finish home and have it for tomorrow!
This can help reduce the amount of calories you are eating. One way to
help you prevent overeating is you can make an imaginary line at the
halfway mark, stop there and check in with yourself and see how you're
feeling before continuing on
Overall, following the PCC method, looking at the way foods are
prepared, and listening to hunger cues are all great ways to make sure
you are choosing healthier options while out to eat. You can still go
out to eat and have fun while reaching your nutritional goals.