Which app do you use the most? GrubHub? Seamless? UberEats? During an average week, how many meals do you eat out or take in?
In today's busy world, eating out or ordering takeout has become a common practice for many people, especially for busy moms who juggle multiple responsibilities. This week's carpools were Tuesday-Friday, to soccer, to running, to doctor, home from soccer....Having time to make dinner some nights just does not exist!
However, eating out or ordering takeout often means consuming more calories, saturated fat, and sodium than we would normally consume at home. But don't worry, there are ways to make better choices when eating out or ordering takeout without sacrificing taste. Here are some tips:
Look for healthier options on the menu. Most restaurants have healthier options on their menus, such as salads, grilled or baked dishes, and vegetarian options. They are just as delicious! Look for dishes that are rich in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid deep-fried and battered foods, creamy sauces, and sugary drinks. (deep-fried foods don't travel and reheat well anyway!).
Be mindful of portion sizes. Restaurant portions are often larger than what we need, and can average upwards of 1,500 calories for ONE MEAL, let alone the beverages that go with it, the bread basket at the beginning and the sides you order! It is easy to overeat. Consider sharing a meal with someone or ask for a half-portion. You can also ask for a to-go box and save the leftovers for another meal.
Customize your order: Don't be afraid to ask for modifications to your order, you won't be a Sally. Ask for dressing or sauce on the side, substitute fries for a side salad or grilled vegetables, and ask for grilled or baked veggies instead of fried ones.
Be cautious of condiments and toppings. Condiments and toppings can add a lot of calories and sodium to your meal. Instead of mayonnaise, opt for mustard or hummus, and skip cheese, bacon, and sour cream.
Research the restaurant's nutrition information beforehand. Make your choice in advance! Many restaurants provide nutrition information on their websites or on their menus. Look up the nutritional value of the dishes you're interested in before you go to the restaurant. This way, you can make an informed decision about what to order.
Drink water or unsweetened beverages. Sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, and lemonade are high in calories and added sugar. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water instead. If the glass of wine is important to the meal, really savor its delightfulness!
Eat slowly and savor your meal: Eating slowly and mindfully can help you recognize when you're full and prevent overeating. Take your time to savor your meal, and enjoy the company of your friends or family.
Eating out or ordering takeout doesn't have to mean unhealthy food choices. By following these simple tips, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy your favorite foods. Remember, small changes can make a big difference in your health and well-being.