How To: Eat Out and Stay Healthy

Posted by Julia McVeigh on

We all know the perils of dining out while trying to be healthy. That innocuous salad? It's drenched in a sugary dressing. That simple piece of chicken? It's been cooked in about two pounds of butter. That single glass of wine? It suddenly turns into two... or three. As foodies who live in arguably the world's top culinary destination -- New York City -- we here at BHH love eating out. But we also love feeling and looking our best, which often can be opposing ideas. Ahead, we're sharing our tried-and-true tips for dining out and staying healthy. Read on! 

Make healthy suggestions.
Planning a work dinner or date? Jump in and offer suggestions for restaurants where you know have healthy and wholesome options available. Websites like Clean Plates are a great resource for finding healthy places to eat in your area.

Scope the menu ahead of time.
If you can’t pick select place, don’t fret. Look at the menu and see what options are aligned with your way of eating. If the menu doesn't have anything that looks remotely healthy, ask your server if they accommodate you with something special. Usually, restaurants have ingredients on hand and will be flexible if you're polite and honest about your dietary needs. 

Snack before you eat. 
I’m not suggesting you have a full-on meal beforehand but snacking on a handful of almonds or a lean piece of protein will ensure that you don't arrive at the restaurant ravenous. Preventing low blood sugar while heading out to a meal is great way to keep you on track -- and away from the french fries. 

Go for the 50% veggie ratio. 
When dining out (or anytime!) your goal should be to eat about 50 percent veggies accompanied by a nice lean protein and some complex (read: not highly processed) carbohydrates like quinoa. If you're desperate, hone in on any items that have greens and ask for the sauce on the side. 

Take time to chew your food properly. It not only encourages better etiquette, but it will also help you achieve satiation. That's to say, it takes about 20 minutes for our brains to realize we are full, so if you’re chowing down very quickly and without chewing properly, you may have a tendency to overeat.

Oftentimes we mistake dehydration for hunger, leading us to accidentally overeat. When in doubt, down a glass of water before diving into your meal. 

Count drinks and cap it at two. 
If you can skip the drinks, you’ll be doing your body and brain a favor. But if you absolutely must drink, make good choices and cap yourself at two drinks. Opt for a red wine (which has less sugar than white) or a clear, hard liquor without any sugary mixes added to it. Think: High-quality tequila with soda and a squeeze of lime.
dining out healthy tips

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