Eating at Dine-In Restaurants

stephanieauthement Eating Out, Nutrition

Eating at restaurants, whether it is a dine-in restaurant or a fast food restaurant can be challenging, especially when you are trying to eat the right kinds of food.

The goals of most restaurants are not to provide you with nutritious food, but rather to cater to the public’s wants, which is typically unhealthy food (i.e. fried foods, alfredo, and large portion sizes). So how you do deal with the urge to eat out and not start eating high fat, high calorie food? The best rule to know is that there is always something healthy you can eat (ALMOST) everywhere you go.

This article is about dine-in restaurants. The most important thing to remember is that you can ask for them to not bring the rolls, bread, and chips and salsa that typically are welcomed when you go to a sit-down restaurant.

How many times have you gone to Outback or Texas Roadhouse and eaten at least 4 rolls plus the butter? Do me a favor – click here to see how many calories are in ONE roll from Texas Roadhouse. You’ll be amazed at the calories in it. How about Chili’s chips and salsa? It couldn’t possibly be that terrible? 910 calories. Don’t believe that? Click here for ALL of Chili’s nutrition facts.

Did you know that practically every restaurant offers their nutrition facts online? You can check how many calories are in the food you are eating, plus the fat, carbs, and protein. Talk about awesome news!

So the best bet is to just not get any of the bread or chips and salsa. You’ll ruin your entire meal if you eat the chips and salsa. Think about it like this – when you want to go to Outback, Texas Roadhouse, or Chili’s are you going for the food or for the bread? If the first thing that hits your mind is the first thing that you eat (AKA bread), then 9 out of 10 the food wasn’t that great anyway.

Regardless of that, most of us will continue to go eat at these places.

RULE #1: So the first thing is to politely request to not get the bread, chips and salsa, or any other free appetizer.

RULE #2: The next item on the list is to nix the appetizer and dessert. The only exception to this rule is when you have around 10 or so people and can split the appetizer or dessert. Click here for the calorie levels of Texas Roadhouse’s calories for EVERYTHING. Click here for Outback’s calorie levels for everything. This is the biggest eye opener for most people. Never choose both an appetizer and dessert, even if you’re going to split it.

RULE #3: Now that we’ve actually gotten to the main course – what do you choose? Should it be the steak, the chicken, or the fish? Honestly, all three are fine as long as you trim off the fat and they aren’t coated in oil or butter. Any good piece of meat won’t need this to taste good. The best bet is to stick to the “Under 600 Calories” section that most places have. These are usually loaded with lots of vegetables and aren’t fried.

RULE #4: If that isn’t an option because they don’t have that, you should only eat half of what you get. When I say that, that doesn’t mean that you eat half of your food and then box it up because it looks like half. I mean immediately when you get your food you get a go-plate and put half of your food in the box and put it to the side. The reason for this is because when you’re eating the chicken alfredo and you realize that you’ve eaten half, you are more likely to take a “few more bites” once you’ve reached the half mark. Once you reach that mark, you won’t want to take home 1/4 of your meal so you finish eating the meal, thus ruining the entire plan.

RULE #5: You should always, always, always choose the fresh steamed veggies as one of your sides no matter where you go. The side salad or salad as your meal might not always be the best option if it is topped with bacon bits, creamy dressings, croutons, and cheese. So you want to ask for these things to be removed from your side salad. You’d also want to avoid getting the fried food from menus. They are loaded with fat and calories. You should always choose a light dressing.

RULE #6: You should also always choose water, unsweetened tea, or a diet drink because these are 0 calories. The best bet is to drink water, though. And it’ll save you roughly about $3.00 per person.

The best advice I can give you though when you go eat at a dine-in restaurant is to eat lighter the rest of the day if you know that you’re going to be eating a lot when you do go eat dinner. You don’t want to overdo it when you do go to a restaurant. Hopefully this helps you to eat better when you go to a dine-in restaurant and not eat the high fat, high calorie foods that dine-in restaurants are notorious for.