There’s no denying the excitement that comes with dining at restaurants, but have you ever stopped to think about the potential effects? Dining out is usually a joy for individuals and families, and has become a natural routine for many people. However, when it comes to losing weight, it’s important to be mindful of your dietary choices, even when indulging in a meal at a restaurant.
This article will go through healthy restaurant orders for weight loss if you like to dine out frequently. For this scenario, it’s essential that you consider some of the other food groups and choose which ones are appropriate for your healthy diet.
Tips When Eating At Restaurants
Eating at restaurants can be a tempting and convenient way to indulge in delicious food, but it can also be a challenge when trying to maintain a healthy diet. These tips can help you navigate menus and make choices that support your well-being without sacrificing flavor or enjoyment.
- Clues To Healthy Nutrition
Grilled chicken vs. fried chicken. Broiled vs. fried fish. Look for possible code words for healthier food with less saturated fat when dining out1.
Additionally, scanning the menu for keywords like “roasted,” “grilled,” “steamed,” or “baked” can indicate healthier preparation methods, as opposed to “fried,” “breaded,” or “sautéed.”
- Maintain A Heart-Healthy Diet
Some eateries have become more conscious of heart-healthy eating. Menu items marked with a heart icon are low-fat, low-salt, and low-cholesterol. A grilled fish filet, a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, is one tasty heart-healthy option.
Although, this is not the same as the favorites symbol. This can be a warning sign for popular, fatty foods.
- Certain Fats Are Beneficial
While it’s important to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, not all fats are created equal. In fact, certain types of fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can actually be beneficial for your health when consumed in moderation.
Monounsaturated fats: When used in place of saturated fats in your diet, they help lower harmful LDL cholesterol while not lowering good HDL cholesterol. Canola oil, olive oil, olives, avocados, nuts, and nut butter all contain it.
Polyunsaturated fats: Aid in cholesterol reduction. It can be found in fatty fish, vegetable oils, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
- Fish Is Beneficial to Your Heart
When dining out, fish is a healthy choice. Ordering seafood, such as salmon and tuna, increases your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. They are a form of polyunsaturated lipid that aids in the prevention of heart disease. Walnuts and edamame contain a separate form of omega-3 fatty acid (soybeans).
- Ask About The Preparation
In places where food is cooked to order, you can make special requests for lighter meals. Tell your server if you’re watching your calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium levels.
Inquire about the ingredients in a dish. Discover how it’s prepared. A chef may frequently produce meals with less oil, no butter, and no extra salt. If there is sauce, salad dressing, or gravy, get it on the side. Then you can dip – or skip – and use less.
- Losing Weight By Reducing Fat
Don’t be afraid to ask your server about healthier substitutions. By making small changes and being intentional with your choices, you can still enjoy a satisfying meal while reducing your fat intake and supporting your weight loss goals.
Inquire with your server about healthy substitutes:
– Instead of French fries, try a vegetable or fruit.
– Broiled instead of fried skinless chicken
– In place of cream, use low-fat milk in your coffee.
- Consider Going Ethnic
Several ethnic food selections (such as Japanese, Indian, Greek, and Thai restaurants) are easier to eat healthier than others (like Mexican, Chinese, or Italian restaurants). While you can eat healthily in any restaurant, the first options make it easier because they have grilled meats, fewer pastas and/or noodles, and other non-fried options.
This is not to say you should avoid all other sorts of restaurants. Just be aware that finding what you’re looking for may be more difficult, limiting your alternatives2.
- Healthy Chinese food
Egg rolls, egg drop soup, fried wontons, Lo Mein, Moo Shu, General Tso’s Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork, and fried rice get a thumbs down. They’re made with a lot of oil, sodium, and MSG.
Steamed or stir-fried seafood, poultry, bean curd, or vegetable dishes, as well as steaming and brown rice, are recommended for heart health. If possible, request that the cook use less oil, soy sauce, and MSG.
- Lean Choices
When it comes to calories and saturated fat, hamburgers, rib eye, porterhouse, and T-bone steaks don’t fare well.
Choosing leaner options can help to support a healthy diet and reduce your intake of saturated fats. Look for dishes that feature lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, or tofu, and opt for cooking methods like grilling, roasting, or steaming instead of frying.
Barbequed or grilled chicken, boiled shrimp, and oysters on the half shell are all considered lean choices. London broil, filet mignon, flank steak, sirloin tip, and tenderloin can also be lean options, as long as they are trimmed of visible fat and cooked using healthier methods such as grilling or broiling.
- Drink Water Or Unsweetened Beverages
Sugary drinks like soda or alcoholic beverages can add a significant amount of calories to your meal. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with lemon or lime instead. If you must have a sweet beverage, try adding a small amount of natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar to unsweetened tea or coffee.
Healthy Restaurant Orders For Weight Loss
To help you make healthier choices when dining out, here are some examples of dishes to look for on the menu that are lower in calories and saturated fat, but still pack a lot of flavor and nutrition.
1. Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chick-fil-A has a surprising amount of low-calorie options, but a favorite is the grilled chicken sandwich. Enjoy a mouthful of a grilled boneless breast of lemon-herb marinated chicken served on a toasted multigrain baguette. A tomato and green leaf lettuce are stuffed between the buns for added freshness3.
2. Margarita Grilled Chicken and Veggies
The broccoli, spinach, and black bean sides give just enough fiber to make this dish substantial while also being low-calorie. The avocado also provides some healthy fat that your body can use. But, the quantity of chicken is twice as much as you require, so request a to-go box and take half of it home to enjoy4.
3. Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl
The Lentil Quinoa Broth Bowl is packed with superfoods, including quinoa, kale, and spinach. All of these ingredients are high in fiber, which helps you fill up faster and stay fuller for longer, making this soup more filling than others. If you’re too full to eat the apple, take it with you and eat it the next time you’re tempted by a vending machine4.
4. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast with Sweet Kernel Corn and Green Beans
This light, low-calorie dinner can keep you satisfied without jeopardizing your weight-loss attempts. When you find yourself at KFC, one of the better low-calorie restaurant alternatives is a Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast. For a well-rounded lunch, serve lean poultry with green beans and corn. That still qualifies as “finger-licking good3.”
5. Blackened Cajun Salmon with Steamed Broccoli
This salmon is served with a side serving of steamed broccoli and is one of the only major items on Applebee’s menu that is under 500 calories (apart from grilled chicken and broccoli)3.
6. Chicken Paleo Salad Lifestyle Bowl
When it comes to fast casual dining, Chipotle is the undisputed leader. They don’t use any artificial additives or preservatives, their products are constantly fresh, and their protein is hormone-free, making them an excellent selection for low-calorie restaurant options.
In 2019, the firm released its Lifestyle line, which includes a variety of bowls packed with nutrients and fresh ingredients that are tailored to your unique dietary needs. This paleo version, which includes a supergreens lettuce blend, chicken, fajita veggies, tomatillo-green chile salsa, and guacamole, is ideal for a low-calorie dinner that adjusts to your diet3.
7. Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl is the most weight loss-friendly meal available; every single ingredient in the bowl is a naturally high-fiber item, making it ideal for weight loss. Furthermore, Chipotle is devoid of trans fat and GMOs4.
8. Red Lobster Perfectly Grilled Fish-Rainbow Trout
By choosing broiled fish instead of the fried version, you can significantly reduce your calorie intake. To further cut down on calories, it’s advisable to pair your fish with low-calorie condiments like cocktail sauce instead of tartar sauce3.
9. Chicken and Mashed Potatoes
A skinless, grilled chicken breast paired with a small serving of mashed potatoes made with low-fat milk and without added butter or cream can be a nutritious and filling meal that fits into a weight loss plan.
However, if the chicken is breaded and fried, or if the mashed potatoes are loaded with butter, cream, or gravy, the calorie and fat content can increase significantly.
10. Southwest Grilled Salmon Rice Bowl
Long John Silver’s is well-known for their seafood selection, and this salmon rice bowl is one of the best low-calorie restaurant meals. Even though the chain has removed trans fats from the deep fryer, the breading and oils still add a substantial amount of fat, which is why this is a recommended dish. Because the salmon is grilled rather than breaded and fried, you won’t have to worry about extra calories and fat3.
While treating yourself to eating out is tempting, it can be overwhelming to navigate the menu, which is often filled with numerous options and little nutritional information. At restaurants, it can be challenging to know precisely what is in your food and avoid unhealthy ingredients. Even sit-down restaurants often lack significantly healthier options than their fast-food counterparts.
The good news is that it is still possible to dine out and make healthy choices. You can enjoy dining out without compromising your health goals by making informed menu choices and adapting to certain changes in your meals. With these tips and recommendations, you can be prepared to make smart, nutritious decisions.