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Doc Talk | Tips for dining out on a diet

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There used to be a time when eating out was a special thing, something families only did once a week.

Now out of convenience, it seems like people are constantly eating out, ordering in and spending money on food instead of making it themselves.

But if you're on a diet, that makes it pretty hard to stay on track.

As more and more places show us the calorie count for food, you can't help but notice that even the healthy-seeming places aren't necessarily so healthy. Which makes eating out hard.

But it is doable with a few tricks.

The first trick to eating healthy when you're eating out is to do your homework before even arriving to the restaurant.

"Most of the restaurants have their nutrition information, their menus online so you can check those out," explains Beth Baker, Holy Spirit Clinical Dietitian.

There's even a web site called healthydiningfinder.com which shows all the different restaurants near you with dietitian recommended menu options.

"Some of the healthier items, like baked or grilled or broiled or steamed means it’s probably gonna be a lower fat, healthier type of food," says Baker.

Those are just some of the keywords you want to look for. Menu items to avoid are those that include the words fried, creamy, breaded or crispy.

"I think it’s an eye opener," says Baker. "Even as a dietitian, sometimes it’s surprising how much calories and how much fat can be in one serving of food."

But the number one thing to keep in mind is portion sizes.

Baker recommends putting half of your meal in a to-go box as soon as you get it.

"Trying to keep your intake maybe a quarter of the plate the protein, and make it a leaner protein if you can, a quarter of your plate your carbohydrates or your starches and then trying to make the rest of your plate fruits and vegetables," explains Baker.

Baker says it is best to try and limit going out or ordering in to just once a week and definitely looking for your healthiest options when you do.

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