Making Smart Choices When Dining Out to Save Money While Still Getting Healthy Fats
Dining out can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but it can also put a dent in your wallet. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health or miss out on getting essential nutrients like healthy fats. With some smart choices and a little planning, you can still enjoy delicious meals while saving money and nourishing your body.
1. Choose the right kind of restaurant: Opt for restaurants that offer healthier menu options rather than fast food chains or greasy diners. Look for eateries that focus on fresh ingredients, whole foods, and incorporate healthy cooking techniques.
2. Skip the appetizers: Appetizers may seem tempting, but they often come with hefty price tags and are usually high in unhealthy fats or calories. Instead, concentrate on the main course where you have more control over what goes into your meal.
3. Be mindful of portion sizes: Many restaurants serve large portions that exceed our actual needs. To save money and avoid overeating unhealthy fats, consider sharing an entree with a friend or ask for half of your meal to be packed as leftovers before it even arrives at the table.
4. Go for grilled or baked options: When selecting your protein source, opt for grilled, baked, or broiled dishes instead of fried ones. This way, you’ll reduce unnecessary added fats while still enjoying flavorful meals.
5. Load up on vegetables: Vegetables are not only nutritious but also cost-effective when dining out. They add volume to your plate without adding excessive calories or unhealthy fats. Aim to fill half of your plate with colorful veggies like leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots.
6. Choose healthy fat sources: Not all fats are created equal; some are beneficial for our health while others should be limited due to their negative effects on heart health. Opt for foods rich in monounsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. These healthy fats can help lower bad cholesterol levels and promote overall heart health.
7. Dress your salad wisely: Salads are often considered a healthy choice when dining out, but they can quickly become unhealthy if loaded with high-fat dressings or toppings like bacon or fried chicken. Choose vinaigrettes made with olive oil or request dressing on the side to control the amount you consume.
8. Drink water instead of sugary beverages: Beverages like soda, sweet tea, or alcoholic drinks not only add unnecessary calories but also increase your bill. Stick to water as your primary beverage choice to save money while staying hydrated.
9. Skip dessert or share it: Desserts at restaurants can be tempting but are often loaded with added sugars and unhealthy fats. Consider skipping dessert altogether or sharing one with your dining companions to satisfy your sweet tooth without breaking the bank.
10. Plan ahead for special offers or promotions: Keep an eye out for discounts, happy hours, or special promotions offered by restaurants in your area. Many places have deals during certain times of the day or week that allow you to enjoy a meal at a reduced price without compromising on quality.
By making these smart choices when dining out, you can save money while still getting essential healthy fats and enjoying delicious meals. Remember that moderation is key – treating yourself occasionally is perfectly fine as long as you make mindful choices most of the time.