As the holidays approach and you prepare to spend more time traveling, don’t let your health and fitness goals suffer. If you’re like most people, you’ll be eating out a little bit more than usual. You can still make smart choices that will help you stay on track while you enjoy time out with friends and family.
Go heavy on the veggies
Vegetables are a great source of fiber and nutrients that will keep you full longer than simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta. When you receive a menu, look for something that’s loaded with vegetables. Ask if you can make substitutions for items like bread or chips. Many restaurants will let you have a second serving of a vegetable instead.
Ask about preparation
Today, many restaurant items are fried, marinated or covered in unhealthy oils. Whether you’re eating meat, fish or vegetables, ask how your items will be prepared. See if they can be steamed, grilled or sauteed in olive oil to make a healthier meal. There are tons of calories, sugars and unhealthy toxins lurking in restaurant food, but this simple question helps get rid of many problems.
Use websites and plan ahead
Healthydiningfinder.comallows you to search for restaurants by city, state or zip code. It includes many chains and lists out their healthiest dining options, including nutrition statistics for those meals. You can also search review websites like Yelp.com using the key word “healthy” to find restaurants that provide better options.
Many ethnic cuisines provide more nutrition than standard American meals like burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken. Asian restaurants can pack a nutritional punch depending on meal preparation. Japanese hibachi restaurants can be a lot of fun for a large group, and it’s often easy to fill up on meats and vegetables prepared with little oil. Sushi or sashimi with tons of vegetable-based sides or a broth can also be a good choice. Mediterranean meals offer a lot of vegetables, as well as fresh meats and fish cooked in olive oil. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Remember, you’re beginning a new lifestyle!
Salads can be a hit or miss in a restaurant. However, they aren’t typically pre-made. With a few changes, you can create a healthy meal. Ask that your dressing be served on the side. Instead of the dressing that comes with your salad, you could also just ask for oil and vinegar. Ask that any meat or fish be grilled and not marinated. Skip candied toppings, which are often loaded with sugar and nasty ingredients. Your best bet is always to pick the salad with the most vegetables to start.
Fast food fix
When you’re darting around for the holidays, sit-down restaurants aren’t always an option. If you have to stop by a drive-thru, use the same principles discussed above. Opt for grilled meats and tons of vegetables whenever possible. Don’t beat yourself up if you wind up in a place with few healthy options. Opt for a smaller meal and have a healthy snack when you’re able to.
What are your favorite healthy dining options on the road? Is there a place you can always count on for something a little more nutritious?