Some Fresh Ideas on Eating Out While Traveling

Eating out a lot can be tricky; you never know how it will be prepared, or what it will look like when it arrives on your plate!  A few times, I have been worried about completely trashing my healthy eating by eating something in either a larger portion than I should, or eating the wrong things. 

I was at an Italian restaurant, some very healthy dishes, as well as dishes that seemed healthy but were deceivingly 1,000 calories or more with tons of fatsodium and carbohydrates!

How did I know this? A few tricks I was taught by my own mentors, but also a few that are unique and leave you thinking, "Hmm..that's a good idea."  

Let's begin with the first tip of how to eat out - Pro Style

1) Do Your Research: For example: Don't go into a restaurant blindly and just wing it, hoping that you pick a healthy dish. Many restaurants have nutrition facts right on their website, or they can be found as easily as googling it or looking on myfitnesspal.com. Check out the menu, pick a few items that look good, and check out the nutrition facts. Pre-approve a few options, and then you won't be at a loss later when you're looking at the giant menu full of temptations.

2) Drink Water: Do not drink your calories! ...Just skip the soda and alcohol. They are empty calories, and will just end up making you crave more food one way or another. Look on the bright side, you'll save money $$! Throw some lemon in that water, or try unsweet tea.

3) Fill Up on a Starter Salad: Chopped salads are great to start off with, they fill up so that you don't overeat when your entree arrives. Order a light dressing on the side, and skip the croutonscheese and otherwise unnecessary condiments that will just add calories to an otherwise very healthy starter choice. 

TIP: You can still get the taste of dressing by dipping your fork in it on the side and then eating your salad, without slathering your entire salad in a quarter cup of calorie-loaded, sugar or fat-packed dressing.

4) Only Eat 1/2 of Your Entree (Take the other 1/2 Home or Give it to Your Dining Company)

Some friends of mine say what works best for them is to ask the table attendant to box up half of the entree before they even bring it to the table; they claim they are less tempted to scarf down the entire plate. Restaurants give ridiculous portions that are way beyond normal caloric-content for a meal. So save yourself the trouble, and you can have the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. 

5) Don't be Afraid to Ask for Substitutions! Sub out those starchy french fries or buttery mashed potatoes for steamed veggies or a side-salad. You could even ask for whole grain options. Most restaurants allow substitutions, you just need to speak up!

6) Appetizer/dessert: this is completely up to you. It's better to avoid these extra dishes, but if you must, order one to share! Eat slowly and let the others eat more. Or indulge, and count it as your Treat/Cheat for the week! You have to treat yourself every once in awhile.

Food for Thought...