Master Your Menu: How to Ace Healthier Choices When Dining Out or Ordering Takeout

In today’s blog, I’m expanding on Monday’s post where Michael shared his favorite local eats in Fort Edward that are not only delicious but also nutritious. Building on that, I’m going to dive deeper into how you can make healthier food choices when dining out or ordering takeout, no matter where your travels may take you. Dining out or ordering takeout has become a common convenience for many of us. While it can be a convenient option, it often comes with the temptation of less healthy food choices.

Whether you’re on the road, exploring new cities, or simply enjoying a meal out with friends and family, making healthier food choices is key to staying aligned with your health and fitness goals.  So, let’s explore some practical strategies you can implement to make mindful choices designed to help you stay on track with your health and fitness goals while still enjoying the convenience and social aspect of dining out or ordering takeout. 

Here are some tips to help you navigate restaurant menus and make alternate choices for your health and fitness goals:

  1. Plan Ahead: Before heading out to eat or ordering takeout, take a few moments to review the menu online if possible. Look for healthier options such as grilled or steamed dishes, salads with lean protein, and vegetable-based sides.
  2. Choose Wisely: When scanning the menu, opt for dishes that are rich in lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Minimize items that are fried, breaded, or covered in creamy sauces. Instead, look for grilled, baked, or steamed options.
  3. Portion Control: Pay attention to portion sizes and consider sharing an entree with a friend or taking half of your meal home for later. Many restaurants serve oversized portions, which can lead to overeating and extra calorie consumption. Remember the plate method! 
  4. Mindful Eating: Take your time to savor each bite and listen to your body’s hunger cues. Avoid distractions such as smartphones or TVs and focus on enjoying your meal and the company of those around you.
  5. Be Sauce Savvy: Ask for sauces, dressings, and condiments on the side so you can control the amount you use. Opt for vinaigrettes or salsa instead of creamy dressings or sauces, which tend to be higher in calories and fat.
  6. Hydrate Wisely: Choose water, unsweetened tea, or other low-calorie beverages instead of sugary sodas or alcoholic drinks, which can add excessive calories and contribute to dehydration.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid to Customize: Don’t hesitate to ask your server for modifications to your dish, such as substituting fries for a side salad or asking for extra vegetables instead of rice or pasta. It’s super easy, I do it all the time, most places are so used to this now. 
  8. Indulge Mindfully: It’s okay to enjoy a treat every now and then, but do so mindfully and in moderation. Choose one indulgent item to enjoy and balance it out with healthier choices for the rest of your meal.

By implementing these tips, you can navigate restaurant menus with confidence and make choices that support your health and fitness journey. However, if you find yourself needing more personalized guidance or support in achieving your nutrition goals, we’re here to help. Consider booking a FREE INTRO session to work with one of our experienced nutrition coaches. Together, we can tailor a nutrition plan that suits your lifestyle and helps you reach your full potential. Here’s to making informed, healthier choices wherever your adventures take you!