You want to make your health more of a priority, but there’s no way you have time to cook healthy food each day. Do you devote time to cooking or watch your resolve fade away with each order you place from a take out menu? Thankfully, Her Campus has three key measures a collegiette can take to ensure she is making the most nutritious choice possible at a restaurant:
2. Look for descriptive words that show how the food is prepared.
Avoid anything “fried”, “battered”, or “stuffed”. The words “baked” and “steamed” are your friends!
“Search the menu for fresh and plain items such as fresh vegetable sides rather than over focusing on the entrée. Think of variety of textures, colors, and types of foods,” explains Sally Berry RD, of Bodyfuel, Inc.
3. Use your waiter as a resource! “What are the main ingredients in this dish?” and “What would you recommend as the healthiest entrée on the menu?” are two questions that will get you on the right track. Also, don’t be afraid to politely ask your waiter to change something. “Order dressings and toppings on the side,” says Sharon Donovan RD, Department of Food Science at the University of Illinois. “Control how much dressing, mayonnaise, butter or sour cream is put on your salads, sandwiches and potatoes. These can pack on a lot of calories.”
Here are some key things to look for no matter what cuisine you’re craving:
This one’s tough, because some of the best Mexican dishes involve a lot of calorie-packed ingredients. The key to eating Mexican food in a healthy way involves portion control and avoiding anything fried.
Pick It: Salsa
Skip It: Queso Dip
Most Mexican restaurants offer chips and salsa as an appetizer, but it can be very tempting to order nacho cheese or queso dip as an extra. Resist temptation if possible! Salsa has about 15 calories per serving while queso has around 40.
Pick It: Chicken Enchiladas
Skip It: Chicken Burrito
Burritos are yummy, but also jam-packed with calorie-dense refried beans, rice, and cheese. With an enchilada, you’re still getting similar flavors as you would with a burrito, but it is much easier to watch portion size. Most dishes come with two enchiladas, so eat one and save the other for a delicious lunch tomorrow!
Extra Tip: Taco salads are only healthy if you don’t eat the fried tortilla bowl it comes in!
Pick It: Sopapillas
Skip It: Flan
A slice of flan, a Mexican custard dessert, is about 310 calories per slice, with high levels of cholesterol. Sopapillas aren’t exactly healthy, but if you’re positive you want dessert, they’re the better choice. Each flaky pastry puff is about 100 calories so you have more control over the amount going into your body.