Whether it’s going out for a quick lunch with coworkers or celebrating a special occasion with friends and family, we all enjoy dining out. It’s more fun, and we don’t have to prep, cook, or wash the dishes.
But most of the time, the food we’re eating is loaded with fat, sugar, sodium, and calories. According to a 2016 study by the United States Department of Agriculture, the average dinner entree contained nearly 1,500 calories, more than half of the average person’s daily calorie requirement.
Of course, there are lots of better dining options out there. Even in places like Changi Airport, restaurants now offer healthy selections for travelers, proving that you can still have fun dining out without overdoing it.
1. Check the menu ahead of time
Not sure if a restaurant offers low-calorie options? You can just check their menu online. Most restaurants now post their offerings on their website or social media page. Look through different menus before deciding on a restaurant.
This ensures you can plan your meals ahead of time and avoid something that will break your diet plan. If a restaurant offers a lot of fried and fatty entrees, just move on to the next one. But just because something sounds healthy (like a salad) doesn’t mean it actually is. Some vegetable dishes are loaded with sodium and sugar, something to keep in mind if you’re on a diet.
2. Make reservations
Waiting for a table in a restaurant can be torture, especially if you can smell and see the food that other diners are eating. Logic goes out the window, and once you’re seated, you’re more likely to overorder.
Remove all the possibility of overordering by calling ahead of time for reservations. That way, you already have a table waiting when you arrive, and you can stick to your original plan.
3. Check the ambiance
Ambiance affects the way you eat. For instance, restaurants that play loud music such as pop and rock encourage people to eat faster. And you’re more likely to consume more if you eat quickly. To ensure you can enjoy your meal without pressure, choose a restaurant that plays soft music.
Restaurants also use colors to increase sales. There’s a reason why most fast-food restaurants are decorated with loud, bright colors like red and orange: they stimulate your appetite. Look for a restaurant painted with muted colors.
4. Start with a salad
Starting your meal with light fare like a salad helps set the mood for the rest of the meal. People who eat a salad before an entree ate less than those who didn’t. Just avoid fatty dressings and opt for vinegar or oil instead.
These pointers will help you eat healthier while dining out. The most important thing to remember is to be conscious of what you order. If you requested a substantial main course, then you might want to skip the dessert.