5 Tips to Follow When Dining Out

Do you ever find yourself uttering those famous words, “What’s for dinner?” or “There’s nothing to eat” while looking in the refrigerator?

Deciding what to eat can be another stressor at the end of a long day and may lead to dining out – once again.

And who doesn’t like going out to eat? It’s easy, enjoyable and no clean up required! However, when it comes to frequent dining out and monitoring our health, it can become a balancing act.

According to a recent study by the American Journal of Health Promotion, the frequency of dining out is associated with a higher body mass index (BMI). Being overweight is a risk factor for metabolic disorders including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

It’s probably no surprise that most restaurants serve portions that are double or even triple the recommended amount for a healthy serving size. Hence, twice the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. A typical restaurant entrée can easily exceed 1,000 calories, including salads.

How do calories add up so quickly when dining out? Most restaurants will cook using excess oils, butter, and sauces. I like to refer to this as “hidden calories,” ones you don’t necessarily see, but are there.

Depending on your specific goals, whether they are geared towards weight loss, maintenance, or lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, or cholesterol, here are five tips to cut calories and improve your meal choices when dining out.

1. Do your research
Review the menu ahead of time. Most chain restaurants will have the nutrition information available online. This will help guide your meal choices.

2. Customize your order
Choose foods that are grilled, steamed, baked, or broiled. Request foods to be prepared without added butter, oil, or sauce. Ask for dressings on the side.

3. Control your portions
Share entrées with a friend or spouse. Ask for a to-go box when your meal arrives and save half for later.

4. Avoid liquid calories
Choose sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea, or decaffeinated coffee as a beverage.

5. Don’t arrive overly hungry
Make sure to have balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. Often
trying to “save” your calories for a meal can backfire and lead to overeating.

How to customize your order
Regular order
Hamburger
French fries
1400 calories
82g fat (18g saturated fat)
125g carbohydrates (9 g sugar)
2070mg sodium

Modified order
Hamburger (no mayo or butter)
Side salad (dressing on the side)
610 calories
25g fat (9g saturated fat)
57 g carbohydrates (9g sugar)
1370mg sodium

Written by PRO Sports Club

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