Sometimes, where you eat is just as important as what you eat.
Who doesn’t love to eat out? Every so often, eating a meal that you didn’t have to prepare yourself is a great treat. But if you are going to eat out, do yourself a favor and skip the fast food joints.
Cutting out fast food and highly processed foods is one of the best things you can do for your body, mental state and even for the planet. Fast food is cheap and easy to get because it’s made with very low-quality ingredients. On top of that, these unhealthy foods are loaded up with trans fatty acids, saturated fats, sodium, heaps of sugar, and enough preservatives to extend the food’s shelf life for years on end. All of these ingredients contribute to a variety of ailments.
Another problem with fast food restaurants is their portion sizes. They’re huge! In the last few decades, portion sizes have only gone up, which further expands our waistlines. One trick that I use when I go out to eat is to split those extra-sized portions with my dining companions. Not only will you be cutting down on calories, but you’ll also be saving money. If that’s not an option, I immediately ask for a to-go container, and put half of my meal in it directly, to eat at another time.
Don’t forget that lots of drinks carry quite the caloric load as well. That iced tea you ordered could have upwards of 120 calories per 8-ounce serving! Usually fast food eateries have free refills as well, so in the end you could have consumed around 1,000 calories in beverages on top of the calorie-laden meal you dug into.
If you’re someone who tends to load up on the bread basket before the main meal, have the waiter take it away immediately. Instead, order a salad with no dressing and a lemon wedge. You’ll take the edge off your hunger, and load up on your daily servings of vegetables. And if you don’t like salad? Don’t worry about it! Ask for their sautéed vegetable of the day. Spinach is my go-to pick. It’s incredibly nutritious, and absolutely delicious when cooked with a bit of garlic.
And really think about the kind of restaurant that you’re going to. Instead of heading straight for the drive-thru, choose a restaurant where the chefs dedicate their time and energy to providing customers with the freshest, highest-quality food possible.
While living a healthy lifestyle, you can still eat out and enjoy yourself. Just make sure to navigate away from those waistline-expanding restaurants, and toward restaurants that dedicate their time and energy to serving up delicious and healthy dishes.