Tips to keep you on track
Before you go out to eat optavia dining out guide
Healthy eating becomes second nature when you understand what the ideal nutrition looks like. You will be able to recognize an opportunity for spontaneous dining and know what to do.
Ask yourself these questions
- What should I do if someone is judging my choices?
- What should I do if this is my first time going to this restaurant?
- What should I do if they offer my favorite dessert/dish?
Mentally “walking through” the scenarios you might encounter at the restaurant will help you to be more confident in handling them. Dining out can be enjoyable and stress-free with a little preparation.
Many restaurants offer online menus, and some even provide nutritional information. You can always stop by the restaurant to take a look if there isn’t any online information. Use our Lean & Green nutrition parameters to help you make healthier choices.
1. Find out the truth
Nowadays, healthful food is available almost anywhere. It is important to be aware of what you are getting into before you go to a restaurant. Don’t let tempting menu descriptions fool you. You can find many restaurants’ menus online, some even with nutritional information. It’s easy to find the right destination for you. Once you have chosen the location, go to the restaurant and order your favorite meal.
Make an outline before you go out:
If you had a heavy lunch, eat a light dinner. If you are going to a restaurant in the morning, you can plan to eat lighter meals throughout the day.
You can make a promise to eat slowly. Your brain takes around 20 minutes to receive the signal from your stomach that your stomach is full. Slow eaters tend not to eat as much and still feel satisfied.
Include exercise in your dining out. You only need a pair of comfortable shoes. Choose a restaurant within a 10 or 15-minute walking distance. It will take you 30 minutes to get there, and it will save you the hassle of parking. You can also get in shape with a group, before or after you eat. Talk time can be had by taking a brisk stroll before you eat. A stroll afterward helps your digestion.
2. Do not split your plate
Most people have heard the advice to request half-portions or share your meal with a friend. Half may be too much, considering the large portions at some restaurants. Try to imagine what your plate looks like at home, and then try it in a restaurant.
You can balance your meals by choosing healthier options from the various food groups, such as lean protein foods and low-fat dairy. You want to get “balance in one bowl” by choosing freshly prepared entree salads. Entree salads made with baked, grilled, or roasted chicken, beans, or seafood offer protein and fiber. Ask for the dressing on the side to control how much you eat.
3. Add to your Meal
Don’t think that eating healthy is about what you can eat. Instead of focusing on the foods you should avoid, think about what healthy options you can include in your meal. You should look for whole-grain breads and pastas; choose foods that are rich in healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts; order plenty of fruits and vegetables; and lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish.
4. Do not get too hungry
You can snack on small snacks like fruit if you are hungry before you go to the restaurant. To quench your hunger, you can order a small bowl of soup or a small salad at the restaurant.
5. Pay attention to the wording
A dish’s description on a menu will give you clues about how it was prepared. Look out for words like “grilled,” or “broiled,” which indicate that the dish is prepared with less fat. Avoid dishes such as “fried,” and “smothered,” and “alfredo” and “rich.”
6. Ask, ask, ask
Ask your server to make healthy changes to your meal. You could request a salad instead of chips or fries. Ask for items prepared with less oil and cheese. The server can take out the bread basket and offer salad with dressing. You can also request an appetizer portion to accompany your main meal.
Sometimes, you can order “off-menu”. For example, you can ask the chef what kind of vegetarian dish he can make for your order or if grilled chicken and steamed veggies are possible. Many restaurants will accommodate you.