If you haven’t figured it out already, I enjoy having someone else cook for me as much (well, maybe more) than I enjoy cooking for myself. We love to try new restaurants, and there is no shortage of great restaurants here in New Orleans. As most of you already know, eating out can be challenging if you are trying to eat healthy. However, for many, it is often inevitable as part of your job or social life. I wanted to share a few pointers for your next visit to your favorite spot.
1. Watch your portions
- Split an entree with your co-worker or friend
- Have the restaurant pack up half of the entree for your lunch the next day
- Don’t discount the starters- many are actually “meal-sized”
2. Maximize your veggies
- Substitute a salad for french fries
- Ask to double the veggies and pass on the starch
- If you really can’t forgo the french fries, see if the restaurant will do half salad, half fries
3. Minimize creamy dressings and sauces.
- When choosing salads, look for vinaigrettes or try a squeeze of lemon instead of the creamier
- varieties (ranch, blue cheese, caesar, etc.). Ask for dressing on the side.
- Choose tomato-based pasta sauces more often than alfredo
- Try just mustard or ketchup on your burger and skip the mayo
4. Be prepared.
If you can, check the menu ahead of time online. If you are interested in knowing the nutritional information, this is often readily available on the website (most of the time, I prefer not to if eating out is a once a week thing).
Don’t go near buffets. If you’re anything like me, you want to get your money’s worth. You’ll spend more time trying to exercise self control rather than enjoy the company.
Don’t skip an earlier meal or snack to justify your restaurant meal. You will most likely overeat and consume more overall.
5. Customize the cooking method.
Grilled, roasted, baked, poached and steamed are the words you want to look for. Minimize fried options. If you like a dish but don’t like how it’s prepared, ask to have it made a different way.
7. Watch your drink.
The calories from soda/pop can be greater than your starter. Opt for water or a sugar free option.
Minimize alcohol with meals to 1-2 times weekly. Stay away from fruity cocktails and other sugar concoctions.
Most importantly- enjoy yourself. Get the fries if eating out is not a regular event. The more frequently you eat out, the more conscious you have to be.