One of the biggest obstacles to maintaining your diet is learning how to order healthy at a restaurant. You can always try to find a healthy restaurant near you, and for that you can take inspiration from our series Good Food America, where chefs take culinary adventures across the nation seeking out its best healthy restaurants.
Now, we know that you can’t always control where the group goes out to eat. To keep yourself from slipping, check out these five secrets to ordering healthy at a restaurant:
Share Your Food
One of the main issues with eating out in the United States, is that our portions are notoriously large. One way to keep the size of your meal healthier, and save a few bucks in the process, is to share with a friend or loved one. If you both want variety, go tapas-style and order a few different healthy appetizers.
Study The Ingredients
Be sure to read all of the ingredients before ordering. A chicken-and-broccoli dish might sound healthy, but if the chicken is fried, and the broccoli is soaked in buttermilk, then you’re going to feel it. For ingredients that you’re not sure about, do some at-the-table research. It’s 2017, you can google anything at the table.
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Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Be vocal about your desire to order healthy at a restaurant, and your server will be able to help guide you to a responsible order. Some people get shy about this sort of thing, but it’s important to remember that you’re paying for an experience and deserve to keep an eye out for your health.
Again, this is a tip that will save you both money and calories. While there certainly are exceptions, most drinks on-hand at a restaurant won't do much to promote your diet. Instead of ordering sugary soda, or inflammatory alcoholic beverages, keep your drink order simple and free with some water. If it feels a little bit too boring for your night out, go wild and make it sparkling.
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Inquire About Plant-Based Dishes
JD Roth—host of our original series The Big Fat Truth—lives on a plant-based diet and prescribes one to all of the guests on the show. He says that he always asks servers if their restaurant has any plant-based dishes, even if they’re not on the menu. It’s a straightforward and direct way to order healthy at a restaurant.