Eating has more than just a nutritional component to it. Around the world and in various cultures it brings together people in a social perspective. Eating out has become a way to celebrate occasions, holidays, and a way to enjoy one another’s company. When you eat out, you are faced with more temptations to eat unhealthy foods, but there are many ways to enjoy a meal out that is healthy and nutritious. Healthy can be and is delicious. Some things to look for when you are eating out include how the meal is prepared, the actual serving sizes of the meal, and the ingredients listed in the meal. How the meal is prepared shows the cooking style of the meal. Is it fried, broiled, baked, pan cooked etc.? How big is the actual meal itself and is it enough for more than one person? What key ingredients are listed for you to see what you are about to eat?

When I go out to eat, the first thing I look for is how the meal is prepared. You want to look for items that are not fried or cooked with lots of butter and oil. I always choose items that are baked, steamed, or cooked in a pan. Look for items that do not seem to be consumed by creamy sauces but rather are lightly seasoned to bring out their natural taste. Steamed vegetables are a great item to look for. When choosing protein, baked or pan seared cooking cuts down on some of the added calories that are brought upon by frying food items.

When you go to a restaurant don’t feel silly asking how big the entrée is. Most times items are big enough to share with another person. Sharing an entrée prevents you from over eating and continuing to eat when you’re not hungry.

Looking at what comes with the meal is most important when choosing a healthy option. I always look for an item that comes with vegetables, fruits, grains, and lean meats. These options are the healthiest. If you are unable to find something to this nature, ask to see if you can substitute part of the meal. Try a side green salad or steamed vegetables as opposed to the mashed potatoes or French fries. Ask to see if they can put any sauces or dressings that come with the meal on the side so you can add an appropriate amount to the meal. See if there is a leaner meat option that is served at the restaurant. Substitute whole grain for a bread option. These little changes to your meal can make a huge difference and give you an added bonus of vitamins and nutrients. You will feel better about yourself while still feeling full and satisfied. Next time you go out to eat try and see how you can make your meal healthier!


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