How to Spot The (Actually) Healthy Options On A Restaurant Menu

Posted By Manpreet
How to Spot The (Actually) Healthy Options On A Restaurant Menu 07 March, 2019

You genuinely don’t have the time to cook. And it’s not that you know how to cook, you just can’t fit it in your hectic schedule. But how can you still eat healthy if you eat out all the time?

We’re excited to tell you that it’s very possible to eat healthy every day, even when you’re eating out at restaurants on the regular. Here’s how!

1. Read The Ingredients & Nutritional Information

More and more restaurants are opting to display the nutritional information on the menu itself, along with the ingredients and preparation methods.

Opt for food apps (of course, the Palatable app) that are tailored to help you eat healthily. Once you have the nutritional information in hand, you get the control over what you eat!

2. Scan the Menu to Pick Healthier Options

How to Spot The (Actually) Healthy Options On A Restaurant Menu

To begin with, look for unique markers in the menu - like gluten-free or nut-free food. Then be sure to pay attention to cooking methods.

Think about it! It’s quite apparent that fried food contains more calories and unhealthy fats  compared to grilled food. Similarly, many terms like ‘pan-fried,’ ‘crispy,’ ‘alfredo,’ ‘creamed,’ ‘scalloped,’ ‘stuffed,’ ‘deep-fried’ or ‘breaded’ mean a ton of unnecessary calories.

Instead, opt for foods that are grilled, baked, broiled, seared or roasted.

Ingredient wise, foods like rice, pasta, sausage, bacon, sour cream, french fries, ice-cream, cookies, refried beans, and cream-based soups must be avoided for better health.

Instead, opt for foods like a baked potato, whole-grain bread, chicken, fish, salads, fresh fruits, and light sauces with more herbs and spices than creams & oils.

3. Resist the Drinks

Do you need that cocktail to eat food? No, you don’t. Understanding the difference between what we want and crave and what we need to survive and be healthy will play a pivotal role in making the best meal choices.

Water is the best beverage when you’re eating out. And yet, restaurants tempt you with freebies. What comes for free are the fats, sugar, sodium, and calories.

Fancy drinks like margaritas and pina coladas are especially sugary and must be avoided. But if you have to go for alcoholic beverages, order a glass of wine or vodka.

4. Ask For Bigger Healthy Sides

Don’t stuff yourself with unhealthy appetizers. Instead, request for a bigger side of vegetables. Yes, you may have to pay a bit extra but you’ll be happier and healthier.

More veggies would make you eat less. But remember, most of the restaurants toss the vegetables in butter or fatty oils before serving it to you. Ask for the food to be slightly tossed in olive oil.

5. Go Ethnic

Ethnic foods like Japanese, Greek, and Indian, are often healthier than foods like Mexican and Chinese. The former has several choices for meals with fewer carbs and better cooking methods.

With that being said, you can still pick any restaurant. You just need to be more careful with your food choices.

6. Order Meats or Fish

Steamed, sauteed, baked, grilled and broiled fish is excellent for a healthy meal. It’s loaded with protein and healthy fats.

You’ll find that healthier meats and seafood will often be costlier, but just like with any product or service, you may more for quality.

How to Spot The (Actually) Healthy Options On A Restaurant Menu

7. Check the Menu Before Going to the Restaurant

For two reasons:

  1. You will get to know if the menu displays ingredients, preparation methods, and nutritional information. You want to avoid the restaurants that don’t.

  2. You can resist temptation if you decide early. Making decisions in a hurry, while you’re already hungry, will make you order unhealthy food and often, causes you to overeat.

8. Prefer Restaurants with Soft Music

Restaurants, like any other place of business, play with consumer psychology. Loud music creates a hectic atmosphere, making you eat quickly. You often tend to overeat when you eat fast which, most of the time, causes bloating.

Instead, pick restaurants with soft music. It will help you relish your meal and eat less.

9. Ambiance Matters

Did you know that even the ambiance of the restaurant makes a difference in how you eat? You tend to eat slowly (and thus less) if the restaurant has softer colors like peaches and grays. It creates a relaxing atmosphere.

And here’s why many fast food restaurants have the red color in their decor - it’s because it makes you eat more and quicker. They want you out of the door as quickly as possible, to serve more customers. No thanks!

10. Customize Your Food

Lastly, don’t be afraid to customize what you eat. Most restaurants would be happy to make adjustments to your order depending on your food preferences. They are looking for the right solution to make it happen.

When you order via Palatable app, it becomes effortless for restaurants to allow customizations and honor your requests.

[app screenshot customization options]

Overall, it isn’t challenging to eat healthy at restaurants. You just need to be well-informed and to focus on making better choices. An effortless way to do so would be to use our app to find and consume healthier food

Download the Palatable app now!