Americans dine out an average of 4-5 times per week. Often, restaurant meals contain an entire day's worth of calories and fat and are typically low in vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, there are ways to eat a healthy and nutritious meal while dining out.
Here are some tips:
- Start your meal with a salad packed with veggies; this helps control hunger and makes you feel satisfied sooner.
- Go easy on the complementary foods at the beginning of a meal, like chips and salsa (average 450 calories) and bread. One breadstick contains 150 calories.
- Order unsweetened tea or water instead of soft drinks.
- Order steamed, grilled or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
- Choose a "small" or "medium" portion, or share an entrée with a friend.
- If you must order an entire meal, ask for a to-go box as soon as you get your food and put half of the meal in the box to save for later.
- Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side so you can only add as much as you need.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables that are fresh or steamed instead of fried.
- Resign from the "clean your plate" club. When you've eaten enough, leave the rest.
Certified Healthy Restaurants
Another tip is to choose restaurants that offer healthy options. A state-wide intiative started in 2009 recognizes single venues, as well as local and national chains, that offer healthy options and environments for their patrons. Criteria for certifications includes: a smoke-free environment, healthy food choices for children and adults, and nutrition information provided.
In Tulsa, three restaurants have received Certified Healthy Restaurant status:
- Jason's Deli
- Big Al's Health Foods
- Golden Saddle BBQ & Steak House
To learn more about the Certified Healthy Restaurant program, click here.