FEATURE — Eating out can be a way to treat yourself, a timesaver on a busy night or an opportunity for a night off from cooking.
The Create Better Health team encourages people to eat at home to save money and to prepare more nutritious meals, but eating out isn’t all bad. MyPlate.gov tells us that making healthy eating choices even when you aren’t the one doing the cooking is possible. On those nights that you find yourself headed to a restaurant, ordering takeout or having food delivered, use the following tips to keep it healthy.
Decode the menu
Look for choices that are baked, broiled, grilled, poached, steamed, boiled or roasted. If you aren’t sure, ask how menu items are prepared, if they can be prepared a different way.
Start your meal with veggies
If you start your meal with a salad or eat your vegetables first, you will feel full sooner and ensure that you get valuable vegetable nutrients.
Split your dish
When ordering food, portions can be very large. Consider sharing a meal with someone else or making two meals out of it by saving half for the next day.
Look for fruits and veggies
Pick dishes that highlight vegetables like stir-fries, veggie wraps or kabobs. Select fruit as a side dish or dessert.
Plan ahead and compare choices
Before you order takeout or head to a restaurant, see if menu information is available on a website. Look for choices that are lower in calories and sodium.
Choose your sauce
Pick sauces made from vegetables like marinara, rather than cream or butter sauces. You can ask for them on the side or for the dish to be prepared with less or no sauce.
Did you know that you can find copy cat recipes online for popular restaurant dishes? Our ambassadors from Davis County have been sharing their favorite recipes over on their Facebook page. If you’re craving a certain something but you’re trying to eat out less, try your hand at a copycat recipe.
Here’s a list of the recipe’s our Davis County ambassadors have tried out:
- Creamy Chocolate Smoothie (Wendy’s)
- Grilled Chicken Breakfast Sandwich (Chick-fil-A)
- Sausage Kale and Tuscon Soup (Olive Garden)
- Slow Cooker Pork Barbacoa (Cafe Rio’s Shredded Pork)
- Zesty Shredded Chicken, Cilantro Lime Rice, and Creamy Tomatillo Dressing (Cafe Rio or Costa Vida)
This week I decided to make a roast beef and cheddar sandwich. Find the full recipe here.
Written by CANDI MERRITT, Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador.
This article originally appeared June 16, 2021, on the USU Extension Create Better Health blog.
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