Whether you’re looking for a quick bite on the go or you’re craving something new, there are a variety of healthy options available at restaurants. But if you’re on a weight-loss plan, it’s important to know what to order so you don’t overeat and pack on unwanted fat.
If you’re on a diet, you need to stick to strict rules when dining out and keep track of how much you’re eating. A study published in the Journal of American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics revealed that 92 percent of chain and local restaurant meals are high in calories, so it’s essential to eat smart when dining out.
While there are a lot of unhealthy choices available at many fast food restaurants, some chains have improved their menus in recent years to offer healthier options. These include salads, bowls and veggie-forward items that don’t taste like their typical cheeseburger-and-fries fare.
Subway, for instance, has a number of sandwiches that are low in fat and high in protein. For example, the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Protein Bowl is an excellent choice for muscle building and gaining weight. The meal consists of a footlong sandwich with teriyaki sauce drizzled on top and it has 394 calories, 34 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs and 4.5 grams of fat per serving.
Another great option for a low-calorie meal at Subway is to get a flatbread or wrap instead of bread. These are much lower in fat and preservatives than their traditional counterparts.
You can also avoid adding condiments to your meal, as they often have added sugar and salt in them. For example, McGowan says, “The dressing on most salads is going to be one of the highest calorie components.” So she advises requesting that they serve it on the side so you can opt for a healthier dressing.
When ordering Mexican dishes at a restaurant, look for items that are “fresco style,” which means they’re cooked without oil. This is especially true for fish and veggie-loaded entrees.
If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to cook at home, Mexican restaurants are an excellent place to get a quick meal that’s also healthy. Middleberg, a registered dietitian and founder of Middleberg Nutrition, recommends choosing two soft shell tacos with grilled fish or lean protein and pairing them with guacamole on the side, which she suggests using as a base rather than dipping chips into it.
Indian cuisine is also a dieter’s dream with loads of healthy options that don’t break the bank. For example, dal, which is a lentil-based dish, and chana masala, which is garbanzo beans seasoned with aromatic spices, are both low in calories.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to try the French cuisine; there are a few healthy options available at some of the country’s most popular restaurants. For example, a salmon dish with mango salsa has fewer calories than the traditional steak and cheese burger.
A lot of people don’t realize that it’s possible to eat well at restaurants while bulking. That’s because it requires more discipline and strategy than cutting or fat loss phases, so it’s critical to keep an eye on the calorie count while still ensuring that you’re getting enough protein, carbs and fats for a healthy diet.