I LOVE eating out. The only thing is hidden calories and high costs. But when I do eat out I follow these general outlines to keeping it healthy.
1. Pre-read the Menu
Look up the menu online. If they have a nutrition facts page, skim over it. You're likely to make a better decision when you're not starving at the restaurant. Not only do I look at the calories, protein, fat and carb content, but I also check the amount of sodium and sugar in each dish.
2. Drink Water
Have a glass of water before you go to the restaurant and stick with water during your meal. Juices and alcohol can add up quickly. One study showed that people on a diet who drank 500 ml (17 oz) of water half an hour before a meal ate fewer calories (Healthline). A large glass of red wine can add around 280 calories to your meal. That's the same as a Snickers chocolate bar. Personally, I would eat the bar instead.
3. Check for How the Food is Cooked
Look for food that has been steamed, grilled, roasted or poached. In general, these cooking methods have less fat and therefore fewer calories. Foods that are described on the menu as pan-fried, fried, crispy, crunchy or sautéed will usually contain more fat and more calories.
4. Sauces on the Side
Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Those easily add 150 calories to your dish.
5. Share with Someone
We all know it's too easy to finish the whole dish, even if you're not hungry. Share a meal with someone and if you have no one to share with, you can ask the waiter to wrap up half your meal for you to take home.
If you don't eat out a lot, enjoy yourself. But if you're eating out every day, not paying attention to what you eat at restaurants, it will have its consequences on not only your health, but your wallet.