Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate romantic love, friendship and admiration. From indulgent, intimate meals to delightfully rich desserts, couples around the world will be dining at their favorite restaurants on February 14th. However, for those who are trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle, going out to eat on Valentine’s Day can be daunting.
Whether you are going out to dinner with your significant other or enjoying your own company this Valentine’s Day, here are a few dine out tips to help you stay on track but still enjoy your evening out.
Eat Throughout the Day
If you know ahead of time that you’re going to a restaurant, make a plan prior to the date. Before you “forget your lunch” at home and deprive yourself of food, make sure you eat enough throughout the day. If you show up starving, there’s a good chance you are going to scarf down several pieces of buttered bread before your main meal arrives. Going to a restaurant overly hungry may also result in overeating.
Understand the Menu
Going out to eat shouldn’t be an excuse to eat unhealthy foods. Before you choose a restaurant, look at the menu online to see if the food they serve lines up with your meal plan. For example, if you are trying to avoid carbs, you may want to steer away from Italian restaurants.
Watch for the wording describing a dish on the menu. This can give you clues on how the dish is prepared, which can help you avoid fried, breaded, and creamy meals that are extremely high in calories. Instead, look for words including “grilled” or “steamed” on the menu.
Make Healthier Choices
Just from looking at the menu, you probably know what you should and shouldn’t eat. Try asking for more vegetables, go for whole grains, get sauce or dressing on the side, and skip sweet drinks. As for dessert, branch out from the usual rich, gooey chocolate cake and try out any vegan options that contain less sugar and are made of more nutritious ingredients than those found in regular desserts.
Manage Your Portions
When going out to eat, it’s easy to eat everything on your plate, especially when you don’t want to waste food. However, most restaurant portion sizes are two to three times larger than the recommended size, which ultimately leads to overconsumption. You can try asking for half portions or push half of your meal to the side and take it home for leftovers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Don’t be afraid to ask your server if they can help you substitute a few things to create a healthier meal. Instead of getting fries or chips with your meal, ask if you can substitute for a house salad with dressing on the side. If you think a certain dish is cooked with too much oil or cheese, it doesn’t hurt to ask the server if they can cut back on these items.
Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating the ones you love and that includes yourself! You shouldn’t have to deprive yourself of the sweet treats and chocolate boxes. It’s all about balance and creating a plan that will allow you to succeed while still enjoying a night out.
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