If you enjoy eating out at restaurants and don’t want to deviate from your healthy eating because of an invitation to a birthday dinner, happy hour etc., then I have some wonderful tips for you to use the next time you are allowing someone else to do the cooking.
Below are some easy tips for eating fit and tasty meals at a Mexican restaurant:
Fajitas generally provide you with grilled meat and vegetables with an assortment of condiments and flour tortillas. This can be a very fit and tasty combination, if the meat and vegetables are not grilled in tons of butter, oil, sugar or salt. Simply request the meal grilled with little or no oil, sugar or salt. And you may add your flavor with the salsa, cheese and guacamole. Limit or skip the full-fat sour cream, to cut fat and calories.
Request extra vegetables instead of rice or lettuce wraps instead of flour tortillas
White rice and flour tortillas turn into sugar in your body and have very little nutritional value. If you are fortunate enough to find a Mexican restaurant that offers brown rice and whole wheat tortilla options, then you may request that. This will increase fiber and overall nutritional value of your meal.
The best option is to substitute extra vegetables for white rice. Extra vegetables increase the fiber content (making you feel full,) drastically decrease the calorie count (1 cup of rice=170 calories; 1 cup vegetables=20-50 calories) and will increase the overall nutritional value of the meal. Plus you can dip the vegetables into the sauce you have on the side. Using lettuce leaves to wrap your fajitas saves tons of calories (1 small flour tortilla=80-110 calories; 1 lettuce leaf=1-2 calories.)
Request grilled chicken or fish (cooked with little or no oil, sugar or salt) and with the sauce on the side
This is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy restaurant meals. Most sauces are varying combinations of fat, sugar or salt. This may create a truly tasty meal, but comes at a high cost to your caloric budget, waistline and possibly health. Simply requesting all sauce on the side allows you to enjoy all of the flavor, without soaking your meat and vegetables in extra fat, salt and/or sugar. Most restaurants will be happy to fulfill this request. Try it next time, and I promise it will open your eyes to a new world of nutritious and delicious restaurant food.
Request half of the entrée served and half packaged to-go immediately
The typical restaurant meal is 2 or more servings. But even if you only intend to eat half of the food on your plate, allowing it to linger in front of you can lead to additional bites and the possibility of a clean plate. Plus there is the tendency to feel compelled to finish the plate after you have eaten more than half of the portion. If you are at home, immediately place 1 serving onto your plate and put the rest into the refrigerator – then you will have to re-heat the dish to eat it.
- Chips and cheese dip: If you must have chips, use salsa. Turn down all chip bowl refills.
- Deep-fried foods: Chimichangas, fried crispy corn taco shells, etc. are dishes you should stay away from!
- Full-fat sour cream or cheese: Limit yourself to one or the other to save calories and fat.
- Guacamole: This is a healthy food, full of good fats, but it’s also high in calories, so be careful.
- Margaritas, Daiquiris and Sangria: Sugar + Alcohol = Empty Calories. Substitute a light beer, to cut sugar and calories.
It works for me, and it can work for YOU!