Have you ever wondered why food at a restaurant always seems to taste so. much. better than what you cook at home? Perhaps it’s the fact that a waiter brought it to you, or maybe you’re a bit tipsy after having that glass of wine on an empty stomach. However, it could be for a far more depressing reason all together: restaurants don’t give a damn about your waist line.
Restaurant owners are business owners; they need to sell a product that people like to ensure that you’ll keep coming back. And how do they do that? By bringing novel sensations to your tastebuds. While there’s certainly an art to cooking, there’s also a science to it. This science often relies on the perfect ratio of sugar, fat, and salt—three of the worst ingredients for our health.
While your meal might taste delicious, it’s likely loaded with unwanted calories that can sabotage your weight loss efforts. So, what simple things can be done to keep your tastebuds happy and your waistline in check?
Eat Out Without Pigging Out
Skip the bread.
The comedian Jim Gaffigan does a hilarious skit about how odd the whole concept of eating bread at a restaurant is in general. Imagine being at home and grabbing a slice of Wonderbread before your meal! The thing is, when a freshly-baked batch of warm bread appears before us, it’s somehow impossible to say no. If you’re worried about caving, simply ask your waiter or waitress to not bring you any. Out of sight, out of mind!
2. Skip the alcohol (and dessert, too).
Your meal is already loaded with calories; you don’t need any help from your beverages and desserts. Stick with water to stop yourself from adding salt to the wounds!
3. Swap your carbs for veggies.
Restaurants love adding a side of buttery rice or rich, creamy potatoes to your perfectly-grilled steak. But such side dishes are loaded with calories, sugar, fat, and salt. Ask to substitute any carbohydrate-filled side dishes for veggies instead—and don’t be afraid to ask them to double (or triple) up on the veggies either! And eat them first; the fibre in vegetables helps fill your stomach and will prevent overeating.
4. Look at the menu online beforehand.
Sometimes, the biggest problem with eating out is that the dishes simply sound freaking amazing. They’re supposed to, after all. To stop yourself from falling into this trap, look at the menu online beforehand while you’re eating (or when you’re full) and pick out the healthy option then.
5. Consider splitting an entrée with someone.
Portion sizes are restaurants tend to be way bigger than they need to be. Splitting a main dish with someone not only gives you a more appropriate portion size; it keeps the bill low, too!
6. Have a healthy snack before you go.
Going to a restaurant ravenously hungry is a no good, very bad idea. That undeniable hunger will convince you that you need an appetizer, entrée, dessert, and third glass of wine. Have a snack with some healthy fat, protein, and/or fibre beforehand such as raw veggie slices with homemade guacamole.
7. Salads aren’t always healthy.
Salads can be extremely sneaky! Read the menu description and see if it’s packed with cheese, abnormal amounts of dried fruit, fried toppings, and creamy, calorie-packed dressings. It’s always best to ask for the dressing on the side too so you can control how much goes on it!
The Bottom Line
Restaurants are sneaky, sneaky places. Go in prepared by looking up the menu beforehand and having a small snack and don’t be afraid to ask your waiter to make modifications!
You Tell Me!
What are your tips for when you eat out? Let me know in the comments below!