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Menu Modifications for a Healthy Night Out

While it may be hard to continue to eat healthy when grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant, it’s not completely impossible. There are a few key things to look for and substitute that can help you with not throwing your diet out the window when dining out.

Skip the appetizer. How many times do you order an appetizer and feel almost full by the time your meal comes? That seems to always be the case for my friends and me. Save room for your entrée and you’ll enjoy the main course that much more!

Look for a low fat/calorie menu. With the recent focus on the growing obesity epidemic in America, many restaurants are providing low fat and low calorie options on their menu. Look for menu items that have been partnered with Weight Watchers or have other indications of being altered for a healthier choice.

Box up half your meal. With portion sizes being out of control at most restaurants, ask your server to box up half of your meal before he or she brings it out. Many times you might be full, but continue to eat and pick at it because it’s still on your plate. You not only get two meals for the price of one with this method, but save yourself from overeating when you’re already full!

Beware of salads. So your friends want to go to McDonald’s for a quick bite. You want to eat healthy so you order a Southwest Salad with crispy chicken. Little do you know that the salad contains 21g of fat which is more than a McDouble! Make sure you look out for fatty dressings and fried chicken which could turn an otherwise nutritious salad into a poor choice.

Substitute veggies as sides. Okay let’s be realistic, sometimes you just need to splurge and order your favorite burger or chicken fingers. If you can’t stay away, trade those fries on the side for some mixed vegetables so you get some nutrients on your plate.

Stick to lemon water or diet pops. Lemon water is not only calorie free and keeps you well-hydrated, but acts as a natural detox keeping your digestive system healthy.  If you want something with a little more taste for your meal, skip the many refills of regular pop that can check in between 200-250 calories a glass, and go with a diet soda.

Get grilled over fried. Most, if not all, restaurants will be able to substitute a fried chicken sandwich for a grilled one, or chicken strips. Chicken is packed with protein your body needs, but by frying it in hydrogenated oils, those nutrients can become diminished. Stick with the fresh and fried-free choice to improve your plate!

 

Sources:

http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf

http://www.cocoacast.com/cocoacast/?q=node/56

 

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