Eating healthy often means including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins into meals. Because it can be difficult to get all of these food groups at a restaurant, eating healthy while dining out starts with a plan.
The first step is to do your planning on a full stomach to ensure clarity of thought. Start by listing the top 10 restaurants, fast food or otherwise, you visit most frequently. Look up their menus online and identify the healthy foods they serve that you enjoy eating.
Next, identify a few of the days in the next week you predict you’ll want someone else to prepare a meal. Examples might be meeting a co-worker for lunch, celebrating a birthday or realizing that you won’t have time to prepare food because of other commitments. Then plan to eat a specific dish at a specific restaurant on one or more of those days.
While planning, remember to pick a variety of foods. Normal eating patterns include feeling hungrier than planned on one day and feeling more full on others.
Ultimately, by taking some time to plan and putting a bit of forethought into the day, you can ensure that you eat healthy meals when dining out.
For healthy cooking at home, consider taking the instructional classes from the University Health Center’s Nutrition Kitchen, which offers cooking classes periodically in the summer for faculty and staff.