When ordering, think about making your plate similar to the diagram Myplate to have a balanced meal. All five food groups are important and provide nutrients for the body. It is important to note that fruits and veggies make up half the plate. Try to incorporate them into your meals by pairing a side salad with your chicken sandwich, substituting steamed veggies for the fries, or eating a piece of fruit before going to grab tacos. There is a multitude of ways to do it, and it helps you balance your plate without feeling like you’re missing out on your favorite food.
It is important to be mindful of portion sizes and cooking descriptions, as well, when ordering. Monitoring portion sizes and looking at cooking descriptions can help you decode what is going on when you check the nutrition facts or useful to use to make a healthier choice if you haven’t checked the nutrition facts. As mentioned in the beginning, portion sizes have substantially increased over the years. We as humans tend to see an end of a meal when the plate is empty because we use sight in eating, but this can lead to over eating. To prevent this, consider boxing up half your meal before starting to eat, eat a salad before beginning your meal to help you feel fuller on fewer calories, or ask for your dressing/condiments on the side. Also, when ordering, look for words including “grilled,” “broiled” or “steamed,” as it means the food is cooked with less fat, and limit dishes with descriptions such as “fried,” “breaded,” “smothered,” “alfredo,” “rich” and “creamy.” When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your waiter about how the food is prepared or which ingredients it contains.
Lastly, consider choosing water more often when out to eat. Water hydrates you and is part of a healthy diet. Sodas and sweetened beverages contain empty calories and can add up quickly. By empty calories, I mean there is not much nutrition in them and many times drinking our calories doesn’t contribute to a sense of satiety like food does, leading us to overeat. When you do drink sweetened beverages, consider buying a can or bottle to have a portioned amount instead of a cup for the soda fountain where you get endless refills. These are just a few tips to make healthier choices when ordering at restaurants.
- Try to mimic the Myplate diagram with your order
- Be mindful of portion sizes; consider boxing up half your meal before starting to eat or ordering dressing/condiments on the side
- Know some basic cooking terms
- Substitute in healthy sides when possible
- Drink water