(BlackDoctor.org) -- If you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet, but still like to go out to restaurants now and then, eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge. While many restaurants now cater to health-conscious consumers, there are still those that may not.
How can the savvy restaurant customer eat well without thoroughly compromising their nutritional and dietary goals...and, of course, without sacrificing taste?
Watch Those Portions
In some restaurants---often the most expensive ones---meal portions are laughably small, so sometimes there’s nothing to worry about. However, in certain establishments, huge portions can cause the patron to actually eat more than he or she really wants to. Monitor portion sizes, take home a doggie bag if you need to, or split the meal, if possible. If they charge five dollars for two patrons to split a meal, it may be worth your while to do so.
Also, buffets are especially dangerous since we feel like we need to get “our money’s worth”. Eat sensibly, and make sure you’re eating because you’re still hungry - not just because you can eat more without paying extra!
Avoid the Extras
It is common practice for restaurants to put bread or crackers on the table when you first sit down. While this nice touch is always tempting, eating a few pieces of bread before a meal can add many needless carbohydrates and calories before the meal even begins. Instead, refuse the bread basket (or eat a single piece, then ask that the basket be taken away) and drink an entire glass of water before ordering. This curbs your appetite and helps you to hydrate before you eat.
Substitute, Substitute, SubstituteWhen perusing a restaurant menu, you can generally count on the fact that there will be foods included with your meal that you may not want to eat. While some menus may clearly state “no substitutions”, many kitchens will go out of their way to please customers, especially in these uncertain economic times. So, when the server comes to take your order, ask to substitute an extra serving of vegetables for the potato, or request brown rice instead of white rice. By substituting foods items, you can reduce your calorie-load significantly.