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Eating Healthy While Eating Out

Eating a healthy meal when eating out is possible as long as you know what to look for. By knowing which things to avoid you will be able to make better choices for a nutritious meal. This is a guide about eating healthy while eating out.
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November 8, 2011

Since our budget is chronically tight, even fast food is somewhat of a luxury. I discovered something this week when ordering at our local Burger King. I already liked BK better than many other fast-food places because their burgers are broiled, not fried.

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After this last visit, I also know I can replace those calorie-ridden French fries with a healthier side salad. It tasted better, too. The salad was fresh and crisp; just what I'd been craving! Next time maybe I'll go even healthier by requesting the Lite Italian dressing instead of Ranch.

By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH

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June 16, 20064 found this helpful

You have probably noticed that the serving sizes at most restaurants is either more than a person can eat or more than a person should eat. Here's a way to prevent over eating while gaining an extra meal in the process. As soon as the server sets down a plate, divide your meal in half. Eat half at the restaurant and take the other half home to eat for lunch the following day. Your waist line will thank you.

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By 4 found this helpful
November 2, 2011

Do your homework before you go out if at all possible. It is nice to take a break and go out; no dirty dishes, or cleaning up, if you can afford it health wise and in your pocket book. Here are some good tips to remember. Nothing would be worse then feeling guilty after getting a treat out, because of some bad decisions of what you ordered.

We get bi-weekly all of the up coming new places, re-openings, new management, etc. booklet. It always has "buy one - get one free" or another great deal, that can make it a real treat. Since I am always trying to save, the first thing I do is look online. Check everything you can about the place, and the chef.

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Most places are known for one or two really great things or specialize in seafood, steak, etc. Even if what is prepared is fresh or frozen. I live near the ocean so if its just off the boat, they say so. Chain restaurants usually always get their meat and supplies from the same place. All of this can be found out before you go.

Have a plan, don't wait until you are sitting looking at the menu (others got that same coupon). If there is a line, it can lead to bad decision making. Eating healthy is a life style for me, I assume if you are wondering it is for you also. Don't stray too far from your way of eating. Be careful you can't see how anything is being prepared.

That is why you try and find out everything you can before hand. Do they fry everything, marinate it all in "special sauce"? Do they have open flame cooking? If you can't find it, ask. When asking do it in a polite way, they don't mind when asked nicely, nor do they mind substitution of anything if it's already on the menu. Example: if you want a entree see it has something in it you don't usually eat, see they offer if in another dish that means its prepped ready to go already.

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I don't eat red meat. If they have broiled chicken or fish being served, I can get it in place where the dish says "steak" as the base of a certain dish. Same goes for dishes with pork. Many don't eat pork. If you would like chicken or no meat in a dish that place is known for, if it's somewhere else on the menu, it's fine to substitute. I just did that when I had company. They even used a clean, oil free skillet when preparing it.

When going to a steak house, looking ahead of time usually answers most of your questions. An example being open flame cooking or fried. If it is fried, some of the best chefs are doing what's called flash frying. It save hundreds of calories. It is where the pan is 400 degrees F so the meat is in it such a small amount of time, either going into the oven to finish cooking or being in the oven first.

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In the USA we have 12.5 million people who are obese. Much is being blames on eating out life style. They really don't mind trying to help.They hope you will return next time you go out.

Watch the little things like appetizers, salads if you don't you may be breaking every rule you have (or had) going in to eat. Look if you are going to enjoy a appetizer have something that is light, not fried, if they offer fresh go for that. Out of season its very expensive so get the most for your buck. Eating a bunch of bread,chips, dip is only filling you up fast so you want enjoy your meal as much, not to even mentioning all of the unwanted calories.

Salad is big problem. We always mean well, but make mistakes on topping, croutons or dressing. Look at menu what veggies are on it to go with a certain entree? They easily can be put on top of a regular house salad without adding unwanted calories of corn, peas, beans, etc. Ask for low calorie dressing on the side. Trust me when I say it has the same if not more calories away from home! They use real mayo for example, not low calorie. It most likely is from scratch so that's oil and eggs.

Instead of eating a bunch of bread, they have celery sticks, carrots so if you want to munch on something with your salad that is a good choice. If you have to have anything get crackers instead of bread (whole wheat ones are better yet).

Entree is next, you know what you like. What you eat and you did picked the place you are. Hopefully you checked online, called before you went so you have all of the knowledge to have fun, and not eat anything you shouldn't. It can be tempting looking around at the other tables, pictures or the wonderful smells surrounding you. Our sense of smell is what triggers hunger when we aren't hungry at all. Ask to sit in a place where maybe the view will distract you.

If you are just getting started on a new life style of healthy eating, never go out being really hungry. Grab a carrot, apple slice something good before you go out if it's been long time between meals. Once you have had your appetizer or salad, you shouldn't be totally starving. The entree is why you probably picked this particular restaurant so stick to your rules of how you eat at home. No fried anything is what I do.

However if you only get to go out once in awhile, don't eat what you always do at home. Try something new, and have something you like. It's all in how this chef prepares it. Usually everything tastes better out. If it's chicken five nights a week at home, don't go for the chicken.

Seafood is always a good choice unless it's fried. Remember if you ask, they will usually broil it for you. Unlike home, eating out has all ovens hot, pans ready to go, and a staff of many ready to make you happy. Almost anything can be made to your liking. Stay away from sauces, may be made the same, probably using more of everything like butter when the waiter is at your table listen for things like wine reduction, the alcohol burns off if you don't drink. It is great substitute for a gravy base.

Serving sizes are the same, 4oz. is 4oz. at home or out. The seafood if you like it is wonderful out in any kind of restaurant. If you don't have salmon at home, now is a good time to try it. If you know you don't like seafood, and you are going to have your usual steak, politely say how you would like it to be prepared. I don't mean raw or well done.

It's alright to say "I don't eat fried foods" or check if it is drowned in a sauce. If you enjoy red meat and it is cooked right, take advantage of a wonderfully trained chef putting a new twist on it. The rule is two thirds of your meal should be veggies; dark green, bright green anything green and fresh, so stick to the rule.

Even eating at a Mexican place (which can be very high in calories due to how they prepare it) can be made healthy. I just did it not so long ago. I asked for pork to be exchanged for just the vegetables. Please no oil and shared broiled (not fried) chicken with my brother in a separate entree. They even had brown rice there. This showed me more places are aware of the problem of obesity, and willing to make changes so you will leave satisfied and hopefully return.

Dessert is where many just can't seem to help themselves. At home, we just don't buy it. If it's not in the house, then there isn't anything to be tempted by. After you have changed your life style, these cravings go away. Still when presented to you, it's hard. Since you now have made all of the right decisions eating your meal, you shouldn't be hungry just wanting to taste that beautiful desert or maybe celebrating? Why not split something, if you get one desert, two forks or spoons you get to taste it and not ruin all you did to save calories through the meal.

I lost my sweet tooth long ago. Still last year, I split a slice of cheese cake with a friend who took me out. We both didn't eat all of it, so no guilt. There are good choices here also like fresh fruit. At home, it may be out of season so how great to get a treat without waiting months for it to be fresh again. Also with cake, ask for no icing and smaller slices.

Whatever you do, know it's your decision. You are not the first, or will be the last to do or ask for anything I have suggested. An important thing is have a good time, good conversation, and making happy memories. I say this because look for all of those deals out there making it an affordable option to some.

Don't waste eating out on fast food or eating something that puts back on the pounds. This causes you to leave feeling guilty, and ruins the treat. I hadn't been out to eat for a year until I had company. Their company, eating slow, and tasting something I usually don't have, made it a night I won't soon forget.

If you drink and have never looked up how many calories are in one drink, a suggestion would be do it. You can eat healthy, and save on all of those unwanted calories, but if you have a couple of drinks, you drank what you saved maybe more in alcohol. My doctor says red wine is good for you once in awhile (unless have migraines). But she says alcohol is full of so many wasted calories, without putting anything good back into the system.

So I drink water for 0 calories, and still have a great time. The bill is half without drinking. I was so surprised how much drinks costs. They also aren't included in the coupons (unless stated). Being one of the biggest money maker for any place who serves drinks or wine.

If you eat healthy at home, know what is high in calories, recognize certain things like sauces then eating out at a buffet is very cost effective. Buffets are filled with awesome, healthy choices always have specials.

If you are one who is easily tempted,or just started living a healthy life style, I would recommend not going out to a buffet for a few months. They have the best salad bars, wonderful fruits along with tables of cakes, fried foods and breads. Buffets are not a good option when you may have a question on a certain food. Other than a salad bar, this kind of eating out isn't wise for almost anyone. We can't know how long the food has been out, who has touched it or how it was fixed. Not a good idea.

If you live a healthy life style ,I believe you do it where ever you go. Holidays, and special events aren't an exception. So enjoy eating out, remembering the rules you live by at home without the dishes or cleaning the kitchen. I can't wait until I get a chance to do it again. Once a year is not enough.

Source: I watch everything I eat. When my brother came I did everything I suggested; I read, and watched shows on top chiefs. They are trying to help stop obesity everywhere. Rachel Ray is a good one to watch.

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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By 3 found this helpful
November 8, 2011

Here are some tips for when eating out. Order a plain hamburger or a junior roast beef sandwich. Order a grilled chicken sandwich, not fried chicken sandwiches, or chicken nuggets/strips.

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By 1 found this helpful
October 31, 2011

Speaking as a person who lost over 100 lb. in one year, one of best recommendations is to only go to restaurants where you know you can get something that fits into your diet profile - calories, carbs, fats, etc.

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Claire Bush0 found this helpful
April 28, 2008

Don't let restaurant meals throw a curveball into your diet and exercise plan. With a little advance planning, ordering a healthy meal is do-able, whether the cuisine is Chinese, Indian, Italian or American. Here's a rundown of what to choose and what to avoid.

Indian Chicken Tikka Is A Healthy Choice

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By 0 found this helpful
September 26, 2006

When eating at a fast food place, I order a side salad off the Value (i.e. dollar menu) Menu and a 5-pc chicken nuggets.

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