Who doesn’t like to treat themselves by going out to eat now and then? Americans eat out an average of 4-5 times per week, and those numbers don’t show many signs of lowering despite the current economic environment. In particular, Wichita has a high ratio of restaurants per population, and the selections run the gamut. Asian, American, Italian, Latin, Lebanese, Mexican, seafood, soups, steaks — you name it, Wichita has it or something very much like it.
So with all of this eating out, how can you stay as healthy as possible? These five tips will help you stay on the healthy side of the plate:
- Order water. It’s free, it’s by far the healthiest drink option in the restaurant and it won’t load you up with sugar or weigh you down with aspartame or alcohol. Dress your ice water up with lemon or lime slices, and ask for refills. You’ll walk out of the restaurant with fewer calories and more dollars in your wallet.
- Ask for a to-go container. Either before the meal comes or as it’s presented to you, having that container there before your meal is halfway gone gives you a visual incentive to take the rest home for lunch tomorrow. You won’t stuff yourself and you’ll get the benefit of two meals for the price of one.
- Order your meal — and that’s it. Yes, Bella Luna has yummy hummus. Well sure, Outback’s Aussie cheese fries knock your socks off. Of course, Playa Azul serves lick-your-fingers-clean sopapillas. But do you need the added calories and fat? Probably not. Never mind that your bill skyrockets with appetizers and desserts tacked on. Stick with your meal and you’ll leave content, not miserable.
- Share a meal. Splitting the cost and calories of one meal can be a great deal, both monetarily and physically. Feel free to order a side salad or broth-based soup (stay away from cream-based soups and sauces). Then agree on a meal and celebrate your time together.
- Choose simple preparations. The more ingredients in a dish, the more likely it is that the dish isn’t so healthy. Look for proteins and vegetables that are grilled, steamed, broiled or lightly sauteed. Stay away from fried foods and items that are called “smothered” or have the word “cream” in the description.
Following these five easy steps is easy, and you’ll no doubt feel completely satisfied after a dinner — or breakfast or lunch — out and about. Wichita has so many healthy meal options available in such a huge variety of cuisines. Get out and enjoy the city’s restaurants, but choose your meals wisely.
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