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5 tricks to help you when eating out

03.05.2019

Eating out often results in a hearty meal with generous portions. That being said, whether a meal in the restaurant is for you occasional and synonymous with a social event or a part of your everyday life, know that it is possible to make better choices without sacrificing the pleasure of eating by following these tips.

1. Do not go to the restaurant with an empty stomach

By using this strategy, it will allow you to make more informed choices than you would when you’re hungry! Indeed, waiting to be too hungry greatly increases the risk of ordering more than what is necessary and choosing foods that are less interesting from a nutritional point of view. It would be better to have a snack between the previous meal and the one ordered at the restaurant.

2. Dare to question for details on the menu

Ideally, your plate should be composed of 50% vegetables, 25% starchy foods (potato, rice, pasta, etc.) and 25% high protein foods (fish, poultry, meat, tofu, etc.). Check with your server to learn more about the composition of the choices offered.

Eating better at the restaurant also means questioning the preparation methods used. So, choose baked or grilled dishes rather than casseroles, au gratin, breaded or fried. Not only does the way the food is cooked matters, but so is the quality of the food; prioritize lean meats rather than delicatessen or other salty meats. Do not be afraid to ask substitutions in the accompaniments to focus on vegetables rather than fries.

3. Make wise choices

The tables of hosts and trios can seem very attractive when it comes time to choose the meal. However, since portions of the food served in the restaurant can be much more generous than those consumed at home, the main course often meets energy needs. By ordering à la carte, you will limit the options for delicacies for hearty side dishes or superfluous desserts.

However, for the greatest appetites, it is suggested to start with an entree of vegetables (minestrone soup, colorful salad, etc.). This is an interesting way to achieve a balanced plate. In addition, when the chosen plate already includes a starch, you do not need to empty the bread basket while waiting for the meal. In closing, for those with a sweet tooth, why not share the dessert; you will limit your calories ingested, without depriving yourself.

4. Watch out for 'hidden' sources of calories

No need to tell you that the energy content of food in restaurants is often higher than their home versions! Thus, to reduce the calories consumed during an outdoor meal, be sure to ask for vinaigrettes and sauces separately, in addition to consuming them in small quantities. For pasta dishes, it is better to opt for tomato sauces rather than those made with cream. The same thing goes for soups; clear broths are much less rich than vegetable creams.

Finally, do not forget the liquid calories! Sugary drinks and juices add nothing of value to the meal from a nutritional point of view. You should prioritize on simply drinking water, or choose sparkling water flavored as an alternative to soft drinks.

5. Respect your hunger

In a society conditioned to finish the plate, whatever its size, satiation signals are often scrambled. At the end of the meal, respect your appetite by asking to take the leftovers. In this way, you will limit waste, in addition, you will have lunch for the next day.  

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