Eating Out Made Easy
by Carina Sohaili of Vibrant Healthy Life
Being social and enjoying a meal with friends or family is a balanced, beautiful part of life. You should be able to be healthy, feel great, and have fun. Here are some simple eating-out tools so you can be healthy while living your life.
1. Practice planning. Try your best to have a healthy snack before you get to the restaurant so you are not starving and ready to devour the entire breadbasket. Plan in advance if you are coming straight from work.
2. Order your appetizer ASAP. Great appetizer choices are shrimp cocktail, oysters, a simple salad, or soup (try to stay away from cream-based soups). The protein in the shrimp or oysters will keep you satisfied and take the edge off your hunger. Reaching for the breadbasket is not too smart because normally restaurants have white bread. This will spike your blood sugar and make you even hungrier.
3. Craving French fries? Go for a steamed sweet potato as a main meal. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite healthy carbohydrates. Most restaurants will have this option, and it is a great way to be healthy while eating out. Not to mention packed with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and potassium, making it a super food for your skin. Bye-bye bags under your eyes and wrinkles! Make sure to order your potato steamed and keep the portion size in check. If it is too dry for your taste, drizzle on some heart-healthy olive oil.
4. Entrée time. When ordering your entrée, the best way to order is steamed or poached to retain all the nutrients. Ask for the sauce on the side so you can put a reasonable amount on your meal. Salmon is one of my favorite entrée choices. It is a protein powerhouse and heart-healthy fat all in one delicious dish. If you order a salad, refer to my blog posting on how to choose a smart one so you don’t fall for the salad trap.
5. Do not be shy! Ask to swap out white bread for whole grain, or white rice for brown. Why are these healthier? White bread is bleached of all nutrients. It is mainly sugar and most of the time chemically processed. This will go straight to your bloodstream and make you crave more unhealthy foods. Whole grains (brown rice, wheat bread) will actually satisfy your cravings and keep you fuller for a longer amount of time. Always ask for a side of steamed veggies and force yourself to eat those first — you will be surprised at how full you will feel afterward.
6. What about dessert? If you are craving something sweet, go for berries, baby! Even if it is not on the menu, most restaurants will always have them.