When you’re trying to make healthy lifestyle choices, like mixing in exercises to tone your whole bod or adding superfoods to your diet, eating out can quickly throw a wrench in your plans. Menu anxiety is real, and the thought of derailing all of your healthy choices is no joke. That’s why we decided to call in the experts to help us enjoy our date nights and girls’ nights out, without any stress about ditching our healthy goals. Scroll on to discover how these seven nutritionists stay on track with their healthy lifestyles.
1. Review the whole menu. “Take a moment to look at everything on the menu so you know what your options are. I try to find an option with a great source of protein, like fish, chicken, eggs or beans, and then I try to make sure the rest of the plate is filled with leaves or green vegetables. If you fill yourself up with the best choices, you’re less likely to want any desserts later.” — Jess Scott, in-house nutritionist, Graze
2. Practice moderation. “I follow a simple acronym when trying to stay healthy while eating out — B.A.D. (bread, alcohol or dessert). I encourage my clients to choose one, not all three, in order to keep their overall meals in check.” — Melissa Buczek Kelly, MBK Nutrition & Wellness LLC
3. Sharing is caring. “If I’m eating out with friends and family, I try to find shareable plates. This helps me with portion control, because I don’t have a giant plate of food in front of me. Instead, I have an empty small plate which I can portion food throughout the meal. Splitting a meal means sharing the calories. Same rule goes for dessert.” — Thomas Ngo, registered dietician
4. Know how your food is cooked. “Stay away from options that include words such as battered, creamed, breaded or crusted. These are often deep fried or loaded with butter and cheese, making them both calorie and fat bombs. Opt for dishes that are grilled, roasted, baked or broiled for a healthier option that is not drowning in fats and oils.” — Emily Cooper, RD, LD of Sinful Nutrition
5. Snack before you eat. “Peruse the menu ahead of time online and chose your meal before going to avoid spontaneous decisions and decision anxiety (‘I should get this, but I really want that’). Also, have a healthy snack an hour before going to the restaurant so you’re not starving when you get there and dive right into the bread and appetizers.” — Jenny Berk, nutritionist and certified eating psychology coach
6. Eat your food. “Eat your meal in order of lowest calorie to highest calorie. By filling up on the lower caloric items, like veggies and broth-based soups, and then moving on to lean protein, you will be feeling nice and full by the time you get to the starchy, more caloric items on your plate.” — Chelsea Fuchs, nutritionist and registered dietician
7. Consider asking for sauces on the side. “When eating out, I skip the extra calories by asking for any sauces or dressings on the side. That way, I can control the amount I use or forgo altogether. I also ask that veggies be steamed or sautéed in olive oil rather than butter, and replace starches like potatoes, rice or pasta with extra veggies or a side of mixed greens.” — Lori Kenyon Farley, certified nutritional consultant and co-founder, Project Juice
What are your tips for staying on track when you eat out? Tweet us @BritandCo!