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How to Order a Well-Balanced Meal at a Restaurant


Eating well and eating out can go hand-in-hand. The key lies in knowing what to order off the menu to stay within your preferred daily intake of calories, fat, protein and carbs. Below, we explore how to eat healthy when eating out so you can continue to enjoy eating at restaurants without disrupting your diet plans.

Pay Attention to Keywords that Discuss Food Preparation

Most eateries with extensive menus offer clues to the ways foods are prepared. For instance, deep-friend codfish has obviously been cooked in an oil, which means it naturally has more calories and fat than a broiled, seasoned codfish.

If you're interested in ordering a balanced meal at a restaurant, opt for items that are baked, grilled, boiled or broiled rather than ones that have been fried or cooked in butter and fats. Some restaurants have already done the heavy lifting for you by noting which of their menu options are low-fat, "guilt free" or generally healthier.

Order as Close to the Whole Food as Possible

The less a dish has been handled by the kitchen, the lighter on calories it is apt to be. A bowl of freshly steamed, local root vegetables may be sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper but is otherwise untouched by oils, gravies and sauces. The same is true of a salad without dressing or a fresh chicken breast seasoned only with herbs and a touch of creamery butter.

Ask the Server for Special Requests

Almost any restaurant kitchen will switch up a recipe to accommodate a patron. Simply ask your server to put dressings on the side or not include a certain item, such as cheese, in a dish. If the chefs in the kitchen can make your request happen, they definitely will.

You can also ask your server about any foods or preparation methods. Well-trained servers know their menus and can speak knowledgeably about anything their restaurant offers.

Go for a Balanced, Healthy Meal When Eating Out

A great way to keep your meal balanced when eating out is to pick numerous lighter items. From appetizers to desserts, always choose the one that whets your appetite but does not sound too heavy. That way, you can still have a multiple course meal without feeling like you overdid it before you even get your entree.

Can you still get some starchy or carb-heavier items? Certainly! Just eat them in moderation and be sure to choose garden-fresh sides that have not been dredged in coatings, battered or fried.

Order Dessert, But Choose it Carefully

Yes, you can have dessert even if you're eating healthy. Most restaurants can easily whip up something tasty like a fresh fruit salad or fruit and cheese plate. Skip the sugary, calorie-loaded cakes and pies and save those treats only for special occasions. If you want something sweet to end your meal, consider ordering a specialty coffee or tea drink made with just a touch of natural sweetener.

Want to try a new restaurant in Lancaster County this week or weekend? Visit Forklift & Palate. We happily accommodate our guests so they can enjoy their food without worry.

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