Four ways to make dining out better for your body

April 19, 2018

Eating out is a convenient way to get quick delicious meals. Whether you are visiting a fast food joint or a sit-down restaurant, you are presented with a variety of food options. But what happens when those food options have a negative effect on your health? A study reports that Americans consume 200 more calories when dining out than they do when cooking at home.

While most are aware of the health effects associated with fast food, we are naïve to the fact that our favorite restaurant can potentially have more health effects than those fast food joints. Eating out on occasion is OK, but when it becomes more frequent, then it makes it hard to maintain a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

So how does dining out affect your health? Not only do you take in more fat, but more sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Americans consume more cholesterol at dine-in restaurants than they do when they cook at home.

While dining out offers tasty eats, the calorie intake is high. Women should consume 2000 calories a day and 1500 a day if they want to lose a pound a week; while men should consume 2500 calories a day and 2000 a day if they want to lose a pound a week. Unfortunately, and depending on where you are dining, you may be consuming your daily intake in one sitting. This means you will eat more than the calories needed by the end of the day.

We all enjoy Cheesecake Factory; however, after a recent visit, I realized how many calories were in my favorite dishes. For example, I ordered the Crusted Chicken Romano which has 1490 calories. Add my Salted Caramel Cheesecake’s 1240 calories and I consumed a total of 2730 calories in one sitting.

This doesn’t include what I may have eaten for breakfast. So, in a day I may have consumed more than 3000 calories. Even the salads have a minimum of 1300 calories, and while Cheesecake Factory has a “skinny menu,” many patrons don’t actually go for the “skinny menu.”

In addition to the high-calorie intake, restaurants serve larger portions. While places like Cheesecake Factory offer mega portions that can be shared, people like the idea of tasting a little bit of everything so people prefer to order separately.

Knowing that dining out can potentially cause chronic disease and obesity, there are ways to still enjoy your favorite restaurant while being mindful of what you are eating.

Drink water

Drinking water before your meal not only helps with digestion, but it also makes you feel full. This helps to avoid overeating.

Have your dressing on the side

If you are opting for a salad, request your dressing on the side, giving you control of how much dressing you put on the salad.

Share

Although you enjoy your own meal, sharing not only saves you money, but you don’t eat as much as you would if you ordered your own meal. Also, if you share the main course, that allows you to share an appetizer or dessert without feeling guilty.

Be mindful

Use “mindful eating” when going out. Be aware of what you are eating and the effects it can have on your health. Make mindful decisions about what you put in your body.

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