A fit mustang’s guide for restaurant eats
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
It does not matter how healthy you are, how fit you are or how clean you usually eat. There is one temptation that gets almost all of us: restaurant eating.
Many feel that when they go out to eat it is a free for all. If you are someone who eats out every weekend for several of your meals, this mind set will eventually catch your waistline.
As college students, eating out is one of the most popular activities for spending time with friends. While you should not stop going out to socially eat, you may need to learn how to make smart choices when you order.
Of course there are plenty of occasions throughout the year when it is absolutely fine to indulge in your favorite meals. However, that should be reserved for those special times. Follow these guideline and you will be a pro at healthy eating out habits.
1. Before you get there, check the menu online. If you already have it in your head what you are going to eat, you will be less likely to be swayed by all of the other options on the menu.
2. Many of the big chains have a “healthy” or a “light” menu. Order from that if it is an option.
3. If you are one of those people who has to finish your whole meal, ask for half of it to be boxed up before it comes out and enjoy the rest for lunch the next day.
4. Order an appetizer or two for your meal. Appetizers are a great option and are more true to the portion sizes we probably should be eating anyway.
5. Swap the starchy side for extra vegetables.
6. Choose between the bread basket or dessert. If you want a few bites of chocolate cake, skip the bread. If you want a piece of bread, skip the dessert. It’s all about balance.
7. If you know you are going out to eat, tack on 10 minutes to your workout that day.
8. Do not be afraid to ask for your meal to be changed up a little bit. It is not rude and you will leave the restaurant feeling satisfied and not like an overstuffed balloon.
Listed below are some of the most popular dishes among college students and how to tackle them.
Don’t over-stuff yourself with the free chips and salsa. Rule of thumb: have 12 chips and stop yourself.
For your entree, choosing chicken, steak or shrimp fajitas are the way to go. Skip the buttery tortillas and ask for a side of guacamole for some healthy fats from the avocado.
If you are of age and plan on enjoying a beverage with your meal, opt for a light beer or a skinny margarita. Some frozen margaritas have up to 700 calories.
Sushi roll + seaweed salad + miso soup = a great health and satisfying meal.
The most important thing is to be aware of the ingredients in your roll. Rolls with any kind of creamy sauce or fried tempura are loaded with extra calories.
A California roll is always a healthy bet and even better if you are able to swap the white rice with brown rice. If you are trying to watch your carbohydrate intake, many places even let you get your roll wrapped in cucumber instead of rice altogether.
Not a sushi lover?
Chicken, salmon or shrimp teryiaki plates are great options. Teryiaki sauce is delicious but loaded in sodium. Have them put it on the side so you can dip your protein into the sauce for just enough flavor.
Switch the side of white rice for an order of double vegetables.
Do you think ordering a salad is the healthiest option? You might want to check again.
Make sure that you know exactly what is in the salad. Some salads pack double the amount of calories as a sandwich if they are not ordered the right way. Skip the croutons and always ask for your dressing on the side.
Skinny tips: Dip your fork in your salad dressing before you take a bite, you will end up using half of the amount and order the cheese on the side.
If you are ordering a sandwich, swap mayonnaise for mustard and make sure to order wheat bread instead of white.
It is hard to go wrong with a basic turkey sandwich loaded with extra veggies. Pass on the bag of chips and the warm cookie.
If you are looking for the leanest option, most hamburger places now offer turkey burgers.
But there is nothing wrong with ordering a real, beef hamburger. They are full of protein. The best thing is to order just the patty without the bun topped with tomato, lettuce and mustard.
If you really want fries, order sweet potato fries or swap out the side of fries for a small salad.
This is a tough one. Italian food is really rich, creamy and heavy. There is not a whole lot of room for light dishes.
Start with a small dinner salad so that when your dish comes, you will be less likely to scarf down your entire plate.
Order a piece of fish or chicken with vegetables and ask for the sauce on the side. If you are dying for the pasta, order the whole wheat option and steer clear of the bread basket at the beginning of the meal.
A really easy place to eat healthy, right? Wrong. A lot of seafood is fried, greasy or cooked in a ton of butter. Ask for your fish or shrimp steamed, grilled or pan seared without butter.
A basket of grilled shrimp with a side of steamed veggies is a perfect, well rounded meal.
Do you sometimes find yourself at Starbuck’s studying all day? In order to keep your brain flowing, you have to fuel yourself.
Stay away from sugary lattes and muffins. You will end up crashing after a few hours. Instead, go with regular coffee or tea and grab an egg sandwich with a fruit cup for plenty of staying power.