July 22, 2016 at 11:28 am EST | by Gerard Burley
Healthy dining?
Restaurant Week, gay news, Washington Blade

Mark your resolve before entering a restaurant for a meal out. It’s harder than eating at home, but healthy meals can be found in many restaurants. (Blade file stock photo)

If you’re like most people there is no way to better celebrate, relax or treat yourself than going out to eat.

We love the decor and the service, but mostly we love the food. But how do you enjoy dinner out and not kill your healthy eating plan?

It’s possible, just harder than when you cook at home. It requires a few premeditated maneuvers to ensure your one night meal doesn’t become your week-long gym burn off. Follow my tips to ensure that you can both eat at your favorite restaurant spots and still look better than ever.

Order First — If you don’t take in anything else away from what I say, make sure to remember this one. Always order first! We are creatures who are highly influenced by what others do around us. Studies have shown that if the first person orders something unhealthy, then the rest of the party is likely to do the same.

On the flip side, if the first person orders healthier or skips an alcoholic drink, the rest of the table is more likely to join the health train and fall in line. If you’re going to eat out, don’t be polite and let the others influence your decision, get out there be bossy and order. Your mid section will thank you.

Starters Please — Eating an appetizer may seem counterintuitive if you want to eat less and cut calories, but having a healthy appetizer like a salad or soup can actually help you to curb your appetite. Choosing an appetizer can help you to eat fewer calories in the entree portion of your meal, which tend to carry to most caloric-dense parts of the feast.

The second thing that having an appetizer can do is help you to make a better decision on what your main course will be. A little trick I use is to eat my appetizer before even ordering my main meal because I find that I order healthier foods once my body is partially satisfied.

No Starch, No Problem — Sometimes the worst thing on your plate isn’t your main dish but the sides that come with it. An easy way to cut extra calories and extra carbohydrates is to replace the normal starchy sides that come with a dish with a vegetable option.

Now let’s be clear when we talk about starchy sides we mean potato, rice or pasta and we want to replace them with green veggies like side salads, broccoli or kale. A simple switch like this can save you upwards of 400 calories while allowing you to still indulge in your favorite restaurant foods.

Protein first please — At this point most of us know that having protein in our diet is important for building muscles and recovering from our workouts, but many don’t know that it can also help you to make your meals healthier. A recent study showed that by eating the protein portion of your meal before your carbohydrates, that your blood sugar levels would not rise as high.

This is important because the higher your blood sugar level goes the more prone you are to store fat in the body. Next time you’re out to eat, if you can’t avoid the carbs, make sure you eat them last.

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