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How to Eat Healthy When Dining Out

If you have ever done one of those diets where you have to buy food from the company, you know how difficult it can be when one of your friends or family suggests going out to eat. Sure, the diet gurus tell you to eat beforehand so you won't be hungry or they suggest sitting down at the restaurant and immediately boxing up half of your order so you're not tempted to eat a giant restaurant-size portion.

But let's be honest.

Who wants to eat like that?

Not us. Food was meant to be enjoyed.

That's why we've comprised this list of tips and tricks to help you eat healthier when someone suggests going out for dinner.

8 Tips for Eating Healthier When Eating Out

Choose grilled over fried.  No matter how delicious fried food may sound, when dining out, grilled is always a healthier selection than fried. By choosing grilled you avoid the extra fat, grease, and breading. And you can enjoy the flavor of the fish or vegetable even more without the calorie-laden batter.

Forgo the bun or the bread. We know it's painful but cutting down on the starch you eat can make a big difference. Most restaurants are willing to serve sandwiches without the bun and some may even offer an option using large lettuce leaves instead of bread. If your dinner guests are amenable to it, tell your waiter or waitress you don't need the bread basket or crackers that some restaurants bring over as you wait.

Select sweet potato fries instead of potato fries. Sweet potato fries are high in fiber and typically lower in sodium than potato fries. Some restaurants are now air frying their sweet potatoes or frying them in a heart-healthy oil to help customers make healthier choices. Don't feel bad asking your wait staff for details on preparation.

Eat more greens. Don't skip the salad course. Whenever possible, order a salad to start with either dressing on the side or oil and vinegar. Filling up on your greens first means less room for the higher-calorie courses later.

Drink plenty of water. Water also helps you eat less. Before your meal arrives try to drink a full glass of water. Often dehydration masks itself as hunger. What we assume is a hunger pain may actually be the body desiring more water. Water can also help you feel fuller while consuming less.

Personalized menu. Don't be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress to serve sauces on the side. Sauces can be extremely high in fat, sugar, or calories. Asking for them on the side means you can enjoy the dish with much less of the sauce, cutting back on a lot of unnecessary calories.

Decide what you want ahead of time. When you're sitting at the restaurant and everyone knows what they want, you can feel pressure to make an unhealthy decision. You may also be influenced by the people around you. Instead, check out the restaurant’s menu online and decide ahead of time what you plan on eating. Tell yourself what a delicious meal it is going to be and how much you're looking forward to it. This will help you avoid those last-minute changes of your mind on what you're going to eat.

Eat more seafood. Seafood is high in Omega-3s. These fatty acids are good for the body and most of us don't get enough of them. Calories from fish are also much lower than that of meat. Plus, seafood is just as filling a protein as beef or chicken and so much better for you.

At PJ’s Oyster Bar we know eating out can feel like you're cheating on your healthy eating resolution but that needn't be the case. There are many tactics you can adopt that can help you make better choices when you're dining out. Our delicious seafood means you don't have to choose between healthy and tasty.

So make a belated New Year's resolution to eat healthier or strengthen the one you already made and come visit us. We make it a whole lot easier and enjoyable to be healthy.

Minus our mouth-watering key lime pie, of course! But hey, we all need our daily fruit, right?

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