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A happier, healthier you

Dining Out? Here Are 9 Ways To Keep It Healthy

by Yes Health

Going out for a meal can sometimes feel like an all-or-nothing proposition: we either overeat unhealthy foods and feel guilty afterwards or we miss out on all the fun. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. Eating at restaurants and cafes can be enjoyable AND healthy with these nine tips from the Yes Health coaches:

  1. Be prepared. It’s way too easy to load up on too many calories, sugar and sodium at a restaurant. But a little planning ahead and reminding yourself (and sometimes the people you’re with) of your health goals can keep you from veering off the deep end. Also, the Yes Health coaches are always available to answer questions on the fly, whether you’re dining at a Michelin Star establishment or the local taco truck. 
  2. Have a healthy snack first. It might sound counterintuitive to eat something before you head to a restaurant, but your health and your waistline will thank you. Grabbing a small handful of nuts, a few apple slices with peanut butter or carrots and hummus will keep you from chowing down on bread and butter while you’re waiting for your meal—and from ordering more than you need. Just as it’s never wise to grocery shop when you’re hungry, the same holds true for ordering on empty.
  3. Pay attention to ingredients. Salads may seem like a healthy choice at first glance, but if they’re chock full of cheese, bacon, sugar-coated nuts and topped with creamy dressing it’s best to take a pass. Look for options that contain lean protein and a good helping of veggies. 
  4. Watch your portions. We live in a world of super-sized everything. There are two smart ways to prevent overeating: 1. Create your meal from two appetizers to ensure smaller servings. 2. Ask your server to box half your meal before it arrives so you can save the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. (Check out this post for more helpful tips on portion control.)
  5. Order it your way. Servers are always happy to help polite, health-conscious customers, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and make requests. Worried about an overdressed salad or too much sauce? Get it on the side. Want to avoid the fried potatoes? Ask for extra veggies or salad instead.  
  6. Lose the “forbidden food” list. At Yes Health, we practice everything in moderation. Depriving yourself completely of something only creates cravings (and feelings of guilt when you eventually give in to them). Food is meant to be enjoyed. Take time to savor the tastes, smells and textures. 
  7. Get colorful. The great part about eating out is being able to order healthy foods you might never think to make for yourself at home. (Like roasted broccoli or sautéed squash!) One simple way to evaluate your meal is to count the colors on your plate. The more greens, oranges, reds and yellows the better!
  8. Slow down. Sitting down for a meal is the perfect way to relax and take a break from your day. Even if you’re grabbing lunch on the go, take small bites and really taste your food. Eating slowly gives your stomach time to get the message its full so you’re less likely to overeat.
  9. Make up your mind ahead of time. Most restaurant menus are available online. If you know where you’re going in advance, take a peek at the offerings and plan your order. Just be sure to stick to your healthy choices once you arrive!

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