Salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant if you’re trying to make a healthy choice. In fact, you may automatically choose a salad. However, salads from restaurants can sometimes be high in fat and calories which ultimately makes them as unhealthy as other options like a club sandwich or a burger. To make sure that you are actually eating a healthy salad on your visit to the restaurant, there are a few important things that you must consider.
What Type of Protein is Present in Your Salad?
Protein is generally a major part of main course salads as protein help you feel satisfied during the day. Many forms of protein like beef or chicken are likely to be fried or come from high-fat cuts, leading to additional fat and calories in your salad than you might have anticipated. Salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant; however, you must ensure that it has healthy ingredients in them. Therefore, it is suggested to instead, choose a salad with a lean protein source; for instance, grilled Tilapia and other white fish.
What Type of Dressing Does Your Salad Have?
While salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant, be mindful of the salad dressing as it can contribute a significant number of calories to the dish. For example, a Caesar salad from a restaurant can have over 1000 calories, this is mainly because of the type of dressing in the salad.
You should rather go for a vinaigrette dressing for your salad, which is typically a healthier choice than other types. You must avoid creamy dressings, as they are likely to be higher in fat and calories which you have been trying to avoid. You may also choose to request the dressing not on the top of your salad but on the side, this would allow you to make sure that you have complete control over the amount of dressing you are taking with your salad.
Consider the Portion Size of the Salad:
It is also crucial to consider the portion you are consuming even if salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant. Many salads served in restaurants are incredibly enormous, and the serving size may be more than one serving, no matter if you are choosing a healthy option in a salad. It is important to remember that you are not condemned to finish the entire salad, and can rather ask to get the extra salad packed to take away.
This way, you can prevent overeating and have a healthy lunch for the next day. Even if salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant remember to portion off half of the salad to take home before you start eating it so you don’t feel tempted to finish the entire plate.
Consider the Nutrients Content:
Nutrient content in your salad is another crucial aspect that you must consider about your salad as you place your order in the restaurant. To get more nutrients in your salad, consider using leafy greens like spinach and kale instead of iceberg or butter lettuce. These types of lettuce that are generally found in restaurant salads are majorly water and do not have many nutrients.
On the other hand, kale and spinach will provide you with more vitamins and nutrients. To make your salad even healthier, you can add things like grilled fish, almonds, sunflower seeds, and other vegetables with different colors.
What Substitutions Can You Request For?
Is it possible to request substitutions in your order? Well, yes!
For example, if you want to order a salad but it includes ingredients that you consider unhealthy, like bits of bacon or toppings of cheese, you can ask the chef for the possible options to replace those ingredients with healthier options. This way, you can still enjoy the components of the salad that you like, such as tomatoes and spinach, while avoiding any unhealthy ingredients.
What are the Other Healthier Options?
When eating out, it’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing unhealthy, high-calorie fast food options. However, many restaurants now offer healthier alternatives on their menus even if the best-sellers offered by them are unhealthy options. No matter where you choose to eat, there would be something healthy to eat there, at least. Here are some tips for making smart, healthy decisions when eating out:
Make healthy drink choices –
To avoid adding unnecessary calories to your meal, choose a no-calorie or nutritionally-rich beverage.
Don’t be afraid to make substitutions –
Many restaurants are willing to take requests for healthier options. Consider asking for a side salad with a low-calorie dressing on the side, so you can control the portion size.
Be mindful of portion sizes –
Restaurants often serve large portions that can be enough for multiple people. Avoid the temptation to clean your plate and take leftovers home for the next meal.
Order a salad –
Salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant and most restaurants offer salads as a side, making it an easy way to add a healthy option to your meal. If you need a more substantial meal, consider adding grilled seafood or chicken as a protein source.
Reduce your use of condiments –
Before adding sauces, butter, salts, or any toppings to your food, taste it first and consider using healthier alternatives like mustard instead of mayonnaise, and lemon juice instead of salt.
Eat a snack before dining out –
If you’re hungry when you reach the restaurant, you may be more likely to make unhealthy food choices or overeat. To avoid this, try having a healthy snack an hour beforehand to help you feel more full.
Keep in mind that salads are always a healthy alternative in a restaurant, as long as you take the time to make sure it aligns with your dietary preferences.