5 tips for choosing the healthiest dishes in a restaurant

In restaurants you can find a large amount of fried food which is not good for your heart health.

Photo: Vincent MA Janssen / Pexels

Eating out too often is not favorable for your weight and health. This popular activity has even been linked to increased risk of premature mortality. Dietitians provide advice on how to order your meals at restaurants to avoid gaining weight and trying to stay healthy.

One of the studies published this 2021 in the journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that people who ate 2 or more meals a day had a higher risk of all-cause mortality, than those who rarely ate prepared meals away from home, less than 1 meal per week.

Causes of mortality include cardiovascular mortality. Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death and disability globally according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How to order your food in a restaurant

1. Limit fried food

Fried chickenFried chickenPhoto: Shutterstock

In restaurants you can find a lot of fried food, from potatoes and onions to chicken and fish. Eating fried foods frequently can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to a study by Harvard researchers.

Instead of fried foods, opt for foods cooked on the grill, roasted, braised, baked, or steamed.

2. Skip dishes loaded with creamy sauces or extra cheese

pastapastaPhoto: Engin Akyurt / Pixabay

Skip high-calorie dishes loaded with creamy sauces or extra cheese like lasagna or pasta Alfredo. Also limit hot dogs, meatballs, butter, bacon, and high-fat meats.

Opt for lean protein and vegetables. Dietitian Katherine Patton recommends through the Cleveland Clinic that when choosing pasta you prefer those with tomato sauce, pesto, olive oil or varieties of wine. He also suggests preferring whole wheat bread.

3. Opt for thin crust pizza

Neapolitan pizzaNeapolitan pizzaPhoto: Ponyo Sakana / Pexels

Choose a thin crust pizza and if possible, a whole wheat crust. Avoid double or extra cheese, you may even be able to opt for a half portion of cheese. Add vegetable ingredients like mushrooms, if you want meat You can order lean meat like chicken ham or Canadian bacon. Don’t go overboard with the dressings, they are usually loaded with sodium, sugar, and fat.

4. Beware of salads

Apple saladApple saladPhoto: Shutterstock

Some salads can contain high amounts of calories and fat. Dietitian Lauren Armstrong uses the example of Cheesecake Factory’s Chinese Chicken Salad which contains 1,740 calories, 106 grams of total fat, 2,840 milligrams of sodium and 62 grams of sugar. It has as much sugar as a 20-ounce soda and exceeds the recommended amount of sodium per day.

Armstrong recommends at The Beet opting for a vegetable salad with lean protein and avoid cheese, bacon, and crunchy toppings that increase calories and fat. Ask for the toppings to be served on the side to moderate the amount. Patton suggests Choose a dressing of extra virgin olive oil and vinegar for the dressing.

5. Divide the food

Pasta and vegetablesPasta and vegetablesPhoto: Ella Olsson / Pexels

People who go out to eat end up consuming an average of 200 calories more than those who eat at home. Medline notes that portions in lMost restaurants are much larger than recommended portions. Share your plate with someone else or request that they put half in a to-go container.

Remember to drink water, this increases the volume of the food and helps to avoid overeating.

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