By Dana Shultz for Diets In Review
If your dad isn’t the staying-in type, take him out for a healthy Father’s Day feast this weekend. There are plenty of options to explore at restaurants, even if they don’t tout an overly healthy menu. And if you and your pops can agree on a healthy place to dine at, all the better!
If your family struggles to find healthy places to eat at, a new tool called Eat Well Everywhere may be just what you need. It essentially makes locating healthy food destinations simple with the swipe of a few keys. Users can access the app on a computer or smart phone, and simply type in their location and how they’re willing to travel to find healthy food. Then, a whole slough of health-minded restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and CSA locations pop up with directions on how to get there. We think this is a great tool for road trips and for finding new, healthy eating options around your area.
If your dad’s the type that prefers a steakhouse, there are usually ways of getting around eating something terrible for you even in less-than desirable settings. In fact, the only time I’ve not been able to find something healthy on a menu was at a fried catfish joint in Texas. I searched and searched for something that wasn’t battered and cooked in oil or doused in a fatty sauce, but came up bare. So I eventually asked the server, “Is there anything on this menu that isn’t fried?” She looked at me with a quizzical stare, said ‘no’ and walked away. A dry side salad and a bun-less burger it was.
Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and eat the “fill-in-the-blank.” But hopefully, most other occasions present you with some flexibility. For those more forgiving times, here are our top five tips on how to eat out healthily this Father’s Day, starting with perhaps the most simplest rule of all: meal splitting.
Split a plate. If you can’t find something truly healthy on the menu, split a dish with a fellow diner. I did this with my mom this week at Old Chicago – we split the baked mac and cheese and each got a side salad. It wasn’t the healthiest dinner we could’ve gotten, but eating half of it instead of the entire dish was the far healthier choice.
Ask for dressings on the side. This is a plain and simple rule that can save you tons of calories. Whether it’s butter, dressing, syrup or a sweet sauce, ask your server to put it on the side so you can control how much you’re putting on your plate, and ultimately your waistline.
Don’t drink your calories. Margaritas, mixed drinks and sodas can rack up hundreds if not thousands of calories in one sitting. So stick to water or iced tea to ensure you’re keeping your daily allotment in check.
Forgo dessert. Desserts at restaurants rarely have fewer than 1,000 to 2,000 calories each, which can send your daily calorie count through the roof. Instead, wait until you get home to have a glass of wine or some dark chocolate. Enjoying a small, rich indulgence is far better than eating your day’s worth of calories in a single dessert.
Get a doggy bag. Simple concept, big calorie savings. If you split your dish in half right when it’s put in front of you, chances are it’s all you’ll really need to get full. Ask your server for a to-go box so you can take the rest home to eat later.
With these healthy eating tips in mind, go forth and enjoy a healthy Father’s Day meal this weekend – healthy menu or not.