We all have made resolutions about eating healthy food and following our diets and, unfortunately, we have failed. It was either because our cravings got the better of us in the evenings or we failed to maintain our diet while eating out with our friends. This leaves us grief-stricken and doubts in our hearts about whether we’ll be able to follow our diet schedule in the future.

The next time you are asked out on a date or at a party, don’t refrain from going or eating much, instead find ways to eat healthily by ordering food that is low in calories and fat. We spoke to Dr. Archana Batra, a Dietitian Nutritionist, and Physiotherapist for tips that you can employ the next time you eat out at a restaurant to eat healthily, and here’s what she shared:

Dr Archana Batra
Dr Archana Batra

1. Scan the menu

Before ordering, scan the menu throughout and look for some keywords such as pan-fried, crispy, dipped, scalloped, breaded, and cream. Dishes with these keywords have a lot of hidden fat, salt, and added carbs in them and your first step is to avoid such food items.

In case, the party you’re out with has ordered them, you can always say no to them when offered or have small portions of them if insisted. The dishes that sound fancy to you like parmesan, and cheese-filled scallops are likely to be loaded with plenty of calories to ruin your diet. Now when it’s your turn to order, try ordering dishes that might be grilled, steamed, baked, roasted, braised, broiled, or seared.

If confused or overwhelmed, you can always ask the waiter or the server to help you out with the items on the menu. They can help you with dishes that you are unfamiliar with and even ask for their recommendations about the healthiest food on the menu.

2. Feed on veggies and not carbs

We don’t pay attention to vegetables when we step into a restaurant, nor do the restaurants. They are mostly the afterthought but you have the option to order veggies as a side dish or ask your server to bring some veggies for you. This might cost you a little extra sometimes, but oftentimes, the restaurants would be happy to make the switch for you. Ask for more servings of veggies, twice or even, thrice. Make sure that the portion you’ve ordered of vegetables is not cooked in butter because restaurants often opt for that; remember they are there to increase their business and are not really concerned with your health. This will be an easy switch with the unneeded calories in your food and a healthier option as well.

If you are in the mood for some meat, fish will be the best option for you. Fishes are easier to digest, are high in protein, and are a healthy option as long as they are not fried. Grilled fish is one of the best dishes you can order at a restaurant. However, if you are not in the mood or can’t have fish, chicken is also high in protein and has a low-fat option with skinless chicken breast. Avoid consuming fatty chicken thighs or legs. Eating lean meat will help you feel full and satisfied without feeling the need to load up on carbs and fat like bread and pasta. For vegetarians, low-fat and grilled versions of cottage cheese, for instance, Paneer Tikka, can be a healthy and tasty option.

3. Lookout for desserts and fancy drinks

Desserts and drinks are loaded with processed sugars, tons of calories, and flavors. If you are out, you would want to satisfy that sweet tooth of yours or gulp down your favorite drinks. So, instead of suppressing the desire, you can opt for healthy items from the menu. You can order a dessert for the entire table so you don’t have to eat up the entire plate and feel guilty about it later, or you can order a plate of simple dishes made of berries or a fruit salad. This way, you’ll have something sweet in your system that won’t even add another 400 or more calories to your dinner.

In terms of drinks, make sure to avoid alcoholic drinks with added sweetness, like Margaritas and Pina Coladas because, they’ll add hundreds of extra calories. You can go for red wine for its added antioxidant benefits or vodka with a splash of club soda.

Remind yourself to drink plenty of water throughout the meal and even try to make it your star beverage. Water will slow you down from eating too fast and also avoid the risk of overeating. If you don’t want to have a glass of plain water, you can ask the waiter to add a slice of lemon or cucumber that will make you feel refreshed. You can also opt for unsweetened iced tea or a simple all-time favorite lemonade to have a little change in your meal.

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