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    Categories: FitnessHealthLifestyle

5 Ways to Eat Out and Stay Healthy

I am still working on figuring out my love language, but when my husband comes home and says, “let’s go out to eat”, I swoon! By the end of the day there is nothing better than a reprieve from cooking a meal for the family.

Salt Lake City has recently received a lot of attention for the foodie culture that has been growing at an exponential rate over the last few years. The restaurants are plentiful, varied, and offer dishes at all price ranges, making them accessible to the masses.

There is one draw back to all of these plentiful, accessible, varied, and down right yummy options for food.  It is so much easier to succumb to unhealthy eating.

How can we enjoy eating out without over doing it and loosing control of a balanced diet? Good news! There are ways to do it. Europeans do it, so can we.  Here are five suggestions to help you make good choices for a healthy diet while eating out.

First things first, choosing the restaurant is key.

Check the menu before you leave home. Find a place where they don’t offer fried food, take the temptation away by not giving yourself the option. Pick a restaurant within walking distance if possible. Not only do you get exercise but it will make the whole dining experience seem leisurely and help slow your eating. The dining atmosphere also makes a big difference in how we consume. Eat at places that offer a calming and slow paced vibe. Enjoy every single bite!

Second, skip the fancy drinks.

The sugar that is added to many mixed cocktails will only give you a headache and add to your unnecessary calorie intake. Also, skip the sugary sodas and drinks, choose water instead. Drinking water before and during a meal will make you feel the sensation of being full faster.

Third, order a side salad first instead of an appetizer.

There are so many beautiful and varied salad options. Ask for the dressing on the side and be careful of the add ons. A side salad is best for you when you stick to the basics.

Fourth, make it your way.

Most restaurant will add and subtract from the items on the menu to suit your desire. Substitute a salad for a less healthy side dish. Request a lighter oil-based dressing instead of a cream-based option or request dressing on the side. Many restaurants now offer small plates which can add more variety without adding more food and you can share with the table. This also makes the dining experience more communal and slows everything down.

Fifth, skip dessert.

I know, for some of you, this might take all of the joy out of having a meal out. If you just can’t pass on dessert ask your server if they have small portion desserts or dessert bites, like a cookie or fancy chocolate.

Your love for dining out doesn’t need to be foiled by the fear of an unhealthy diet.   Staying strong and making good choices is the most successful way to feeling good and looking good too!

Sonja Blackham :