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The holiday season is all about meeting up with family and friends. With that can come going to restaurants. Then the challenge is staying on track. It’s so tempting when you are surrounded by all of those choices. How do you force yourself to make the right decision!?

I always tell myself I’m going to be good and eat healthy. Positive thinking can definitely help, but let’s be real….it’s still tough! I’ve come up with a list that helps me make the right decision. Hopefully it will help you too!

20 Tips to Stay Healthy when Dining Out

  • Don’t go to the restaurant on an empty stomach. Have a healthy snack before you leave.
  • Check the menu ahead of time. Most restaurants have their menus posted online. Knowing exactly what you want may save you from being tempted to go off plan.
  • Drink a glass of water before your meal. This will help make you feel full.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure how something is made ask the waiter.
  • Make an appetizer your meal. It’s probably the portion size you should actually be eating.
  • Start with a cup of broth based soup. Broth based soups are usually pretty low in calories. Plus they are filling!
  • Make sure you know how the food is prepared. Obviously if it is fried you will want to steer clear of it. Something like green beans might be cooked in butter. It’s always best to check with the waiter.
  • Know your meat. A chicken breast is much healthier than a leg or thigh. A top sirloin is healthier than a prime rib. The difference in fat and calories can be quite shocking.
  • Order your sauce on the side. This can save you a lot of calories especially when it comes to eating salad.
  • Know the cooking terminology. Grilled, baked and broiled are all good ways to prepare a healthy meal.
  • Creamy, breaded, sauteed and smothered are words you want to avoid. These words typically mean the food will be high in fat and/or calories.
  • Just because it’s salad doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Pay attention to what is in the salad. Fried chicken would be a no no. Drenched in salad dressing isn’t good either.
  • Skip the bread. I know it’s tough, but you will be glad you did it.
  • Think veggies!! When I go to Buffalo Wild Wings I don’t get fries or chips and salsa. Instead I get carrots and celery. That saves me a lot of fat and calories.
  • Enjoy every bite you take. Eating fast can lead to overeating.
  • Save half for later. Restaurants tend to give enormous portions…way more food than we need to eat. Ask your waiter to bring out a to go box with your meal.
  • Go easy on the wine. Having a glass occasionally is fine but there are a lot of empty calories in alcohol. Everything in moderation!
  • Don’t fall into the dessert trap. If you really want something sweet order a side of fruit.
  • Chew gum or have a mint when you’re done with your meal. This can help stop you from overeating.
  • Avoid fancy coffee drinks. A 20 oz. latte comes in at 340 calories! Sticking with plain coffee is way better for your waistline.

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