Birthdays, anniversaries, date nights and catch ups with friends – sometimes it can seem like most of your social life revolves around eating out; yet something which should be a fun treat and perhaps an opportunity to indulge can be something those following a special diet come to dread.
Whether you are cutting calories, opting for low fat, no sugar, or gluten free foods, or need to monitor your diet to deal with allergies, finding a suitable restaurant meal isn’t something you can simply take for granted.
Restricted Food Options Don’t Have to Mean a Restricted Life
The easiest option in these circumstances is to simply stop eating out, or at best to limit yourself to the venues you are super confident about going to, or family gatherings where you can bring your own supplies. Such a compromise inevitably means missing out on a lot of life, yet this doesn’t have to be the only solution, as with a little research and preparation, it is possible to develop some clever strategies which put you back in the driver’s seat, at least for some of the time.
Top Tips to Make Eating Out Easier
Ask About Allergens
When accidentally consuming particular ingredients, such as nuts or gluten, can be at best uncomfortable and at worst life threatening, it’s crucial to do some research to stay safe. Many restaurants’ websites list the ingredients in their dishes, but it may be wise to call and double check that accidental contamination is not a risk.
It’s difficult to know exactly what each dish contains and if foods have become mixed and therefore unsafe for certain people. Plus, of course, there is not likely to be much choice, and what you can eat is open for anyone to try, so overall these are risky and poor value for money.
Check Calorie Counts Online
Checking the calorie counts is a good starting point when trying to narrow choices down, and this information should be available online. Here’s an example using the Cheesecake Factory menu. While it is obvious that a 200 calorie salad is a better choice than something with numbers five times higher, you may not recognize certain items, or want to know the percentages of fats, sugars and carbs. In that case, some web browsing should tell you how particular dishes are generally prepared and cooked and provide more nutritional information too.
Help Your Heart
Avoiding fats is one of the easier things to do in a restaurant, especially if you are not too shy to ask how certain items are cooked, or for suspect items to be substituted for healthier alternatives. Unfortunately, avoiding the bread, and requesting any sauces and dressings are served on the side relies more on willpower than knowledge.
While going to a restaurant is never going to be as easy for someone who must monitor their food as for those who can make free choices, there are plenty of strategies which can make it a lot easier, and at least make it possible for eating out to be manageable. So, you don’t have to miss out on all the invites that involve food.