Written by Dr Sandra Miranda, ND

With a busy lifestyle it is hard to completely avoid having to eat out. But eating at a restaurant doesn’t have to sabotage a healthy diet.  I have written this blog so that you can use these tips the next time you have to eat out.

  1. Try to keep your entire meal to 500 calories or less.  Most ladies will have to eat about 1,000 to 1,500 calories per day to keep at a healthy weight.  This will obviously depend on your body composition and your level of exercise.
  2. If you know which restaurant you will be going to, then read the menu before you go.  This way you can have in mind what a healthier choice would be for you.
  3. Choose foods that are lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fibre.
  4. Avoid “All-You-Can-Eat” Buffets.  It will be more difficult to eat only 500 calories in that setting.
  5. Don’t get to the restaurant hungry!  Many people decide to skip their previous meal or snack because they are saving their appetite for the restaurant but this only leads you eat more and order foods that are not part of your healthy diet plan.
  6. Order a soup or salad to start instead of being tempted with the pre-dinner bread or other appetizers.
  7. Order your meal before everyone else! This will avoid you changing your mind once you hear everybody else’s choices.
  8. Avoid pop or juice and only order water, water and lemon/lime or an herbal tea with no sugar – before and during your meal.
  9. Ask for sauces or dressing on the side.  And if you are ordering a salad, also ask for slices of lime or lemon that you can add to your salad.  This will decrease the need for too much dressing (which may have sugar added to it).
  10. Choose tomato based sauces over creamy ones.
  11. Ask to make a healthy swap – ask for veggies or salad instead of fries.
  12. Try to eat your meal mindfully and enjoy the flavour of your food.
  13. Slow down and chew your food properly.  Remember that our goal is to chew our food 30 times before swallowing! Our digestion starts in our mouth and not out stomach.
  14. Have a cup of tea or decaf coffee instead of dessert.
  15. Avoid supersizing your food – choose the smallest options.
  16. Choose grilled and roasted lean meat and avoid fried and breaded items.