Dining out is such a tempting choice – you do not have to go through all the motions to prepare ingredients and all the effort of fixing up a somewhat nuanced meal. All you have to do is make the order and “enjoy the fireworks” on your taste buds. Unfortunately, we tend to gratify tastes above anything else when we go out to eat – this means we’re more likely to settle for unhealthy foods just for the sake of temporary pleasure. If you are one of those people who have a hard time resisting junk food, here are five tips for healthy dining out.
Always read the ingredients before you look at the complimentary photo
The name of the meal can have an enticing ring to it and the printed photograph right next to its name will usually represent what this meal should look like but not what it actually turns out to be. However, humans tend to respond to visually stimulating options more than anything else, which can be your downfall when it comes to healthy dining out. In order to avoid this trap, especially if you’re trying to get back in shape, don’t even look at the photo.
First, take all the time you need to study the list of ingredients below the name of the meal that caught your attention. Most restaurants will have such detailed menus, but if by any chance they do not, ask the cook or the waiter to give you a detailed description of what goes into the meal. Never feel embarrassed for asking – you are not testing anyone’s patience, it’s a part of their job in the service business.
When you are dining out, avoid starch at all costs
Whether you decide to dine out or order in, you’ll end up with the same result – you’ll have the food prepared for you. When you find yourself in such a situation, remember that starchy foods are your greatest enemy – and yes, this also means carbohydrates. Although they are not technically synonymous, as far as your diet is concerned, they practically are.
Most respectable restaurants or other establishments that prepare food will have a non-starchy vegetable option as a side dish to protein meals. This means you’ll be able to take potatoes, rice or bread out of the equation and replace them with mixed greens, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant, etc. This should be quite enough to satisfy your hunger and you’ll not feel as groggy after the meal, so it’s a win-win situation however you decide to look at it.
Healthy party cocktails and healthy catering options exist
Healthy options are not a passing fad. Even the franchised food joints have decided to catch up with the health train in order to retain their business turnover. This is why you have such amazingly decadent choices for healthy nibbles and party cocktails on the menus of most renowned businesses for catering in NYC. This market used to be known for fast and loose food choices that were better known for their spicy tastes and appearance than the quality of ingredients.
However, these days, they tend to offer options that include fresh and local season ingredients which can take the event you are organizing to another level. All you have to do is browse online a bit to find these options and be aware of the fact that they exist! When it comes to healthy dining out, you are not as limited as you might appear to be!
Learn how to avoid dessert
If you want to develop a healthy habit when you dine out, you have to start avoiding dessert at all costs. There is no “alternative” to this option, there is no getting around it, just like with starch, you have to simply cut it out of your mind as a viable option. The matters are even worse if you still eat starch and top it off with a dessert – you are basically combining carbs and sugar, which is the worst food combination imaginable – it will solidify more fat in the places you want it the least and it will keep you tired and wobbly for hours on end after the short initial influx of energy.
People tend to look for a variety of tricks to avoid desserts, but you should know it always comes down to sheer willpower. Remember, the more carb-sugar combo you consume, the less likely you are to stop yourself from ordering it next time. Just learn how to say no, let your body digest the healthy meal you’ve eaten and treat yourself with an apple or a bowl of strawberries two hours after the meal.
The issue of pricing rarely comes into play when it comes to dining out – we usually already have our favorite places and foods that stimulate our senses of smell and taste. Unfortunately, most people tend to be drawn to unhealthy foods like a magnet. The more you consume them, the more your body craves another “fix”. What’s worse, a lot of healthier choices tend to be either cheaper or within the same price range as the more unhealthy meals. The trick is to go “cold turkey” with these spicy, carbohydrate and fat-rich meals for variants and combos that promote good digestion and a healthier body.