Healthy Restaurant Choices

As dieting and special eating plans become more popular, people are becoming even more interested in making healthy restaurant choices to make sure they stick to their diets. It’s taken consumers exerting a lot of pressure on their favorite eateries to start offering healthy restaurant choices, but they’re finally doing it.

Are you a vegetarian? Many restaurants have vegan options for their customers. Do you have celiac disease, where you can’t eat wheat, barley, or other long grains? Many restaurants are offering their gluten-intolerant customers their own healthy choices by serving gluten-free foods. No-Carb diet? No problem? Low fat? You can’t swing a carrot stick without hitting entire plates of healthy restaurant choices in the form of low-fat versions of a restaurant’s popular items.

You can even get healthy takeout from a lot of restaurants. Not only do most healthy restaurants offer take out versions of their regular menu items, but there are even restaurants that specialize in filling healthy restaurant choices for their customers. Think vegetarian restaurants, Mediterranean restaurants, and organic, locally-grown restaurants.

You can make your healthy choices first by recognizing that it’s better to adopt healthy eating as a lifestyle, not as a diet to be started and stopped whenever you hit your target weight. By having permanent healthy eating habits, making healthy restaurant choices is much easier. And if you want to be naughty once in a while, and have something that’s not typically healthy, you won’t feel like you’ve failed in your diet.

Some of our favorite healthy restaurant choices include things like getting a sandwich in healthy salad form from our favorite footlong sandwich shop, or getting a burger without the bun. For the low-fat dieters, consider getting a bison burger or a turkey club sandwich and low-fat mayo. If sodium and salt are a problem for you, make your own healthy restaurant choices by ordering things that are naturally low-sodium, like vegetables, fish, and dairy products. You can also request that the kitchen honors your healthy restaurant choices by leaving out certain ingredients from your meal.

Another option is to use a food monitoring service like Livestrong.com, DietFacts.com, or CalorieKing.com to see if you’re making healthy restaurant choices. Just sign up for an account, enter the items you ate for your meal, and you’ll be able to see if you made the best decision for your  new healthy lifestyle.

Of course, there are plenty of foods to avoid if you’re trying to make healthy restaurant choices, and there are a few ways to tell if you should or should not be eating those particular foods.

* If you can upgrade your meal by using the words “size” and “super.”

* If you can order your meal while you’re still in the car.

* If you leave the restaurant with your pants unbuttoned and your belt unbuckled, telling the hostess you need to be rolled out to your car

* If the restaurant will take your photo and put it on the “Wall O’ Shame” because you ate their Gut Buster/Heart Attack Special/Death By Beef

* If the paper bag your food comes in is shiny with grease by the time you get it out to your car.

Believe us, we understand how hard it can be to make healthy restaurant choices. The foods that are bad for us taste so darn good, and the ones that are good for us, well, could always be made better with a nice cream sauce, or butter and salt, covered in cheese, or dipped in chocolate. But it’s important to remember that those should be an occasional treat, maybe once every couple of weeks, but certainly not every day.

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