5 Easy Ways To Eat Healthy While Eating Out

by Stefani Pappas

Millennials are constantly on the go. Whether you are running late to work, sprinting to the gym or meeting up with friends, it can be hard to find time to cook every meal at home.

We often get stuck with eating at restaurants and fast-food chains, which isn't the best for our wallets or our waistlines.

But have you ever noticed that almost every reality TV show features celebrities eating away from home several times a week? How do the "Real Housewives" stay in such good shape when they dine out every weekend at the most exclusive restaurants?

That's the money question. It can certainly be challenging, but it is definitely doable and not worth having a panic attack like this one.

There are several small strategies that fit people use when eating away from home. These techniques might seem like minor changes, but can be extremely effective in helping you stay fit.

Whether you are grabbing fast-food, eating at a restaurant or going to a potluck dinner, here are five small strategies you can use next time you dine away from home.

1. Prepare

If you know where you are going beforehand, pull up the restaurant's menu on your smartphone. Browse through the menu quickly and familiarize yourself with the options. This will give you some time to sort out the healthy from not-so-healthy entrée options.

Look for those money words, like steamed, grilled, broiled and roasted. This way, you will be fully prepared and know what you will order before the fried mac and cheese balls at the table next to you tempt you to make bad choices.

If you are going to a friend's house for dinner, casually ask what he or she is preparing; if nothing sounds healthy, offer to bring a salad or fruit platter.

This will help give you a health-conscious food option to enjoy, and it's always a nice gesture to support your friend.

2. Appetizer, Wine Or Dessert

Whether you are ordering out or dining at a friend's house, you will have plenty of extra food options before, after and during your main course.

Try choosing to indulge in one thing. For example, if you want to order a hearty appetizer, skip the wine and dessert. If you're not willing to skip the fried calamari, try choosing a dessert that is a bit lighter, like a fruit platter or sorbet.

If you are dying to have both an appetizer and dessert, suggest splitting an entrée with a friend or packing half of your meal to-go.

This can help create a calorie balance while still allowing you to indulge a bit.

3. Veggies All Day, Every Day

No one likes to see you "hangry" like this. Starting your meal with vegetables can help keep you full and sane when eating both away and at home.

Try to order meals that are vegetable based; these offer many nutrients and fiber to help keep you fuller longer. Swap out rice for steamed vegetables, or ask for a side salad instead of fries.

Order a vegetable stir-fry as an entrée, or try a vegetable appetizer, like edamame. Additionally, snacking on some celery or baby carrots beforehand can help curb your hunger and help avoid overindulging during your meal.

4. Sparkling Water

Wine, iced tea, lemonade, soda... these liquid calories can really add up. If you're sick of plain water, try sparkling water. You can add some lemon, lime or a dash of fruit juice for flavor.

This zero-calorie alternative is waist-friendly and will give you something to sip on throughout the night. Unsweetened iced tea is also a great option, and will give you that refreshing quench you have been craving.

5. Don't Clean Your Plate

Contrary to what your mother told you when you were young, you don't need to finish your plate. Most restaurants exceed the nutritional recommendations when it comes to fat, saturated fat and sodium in entrées.

Listen to your body, don't stuff yourself to oblivion and take part of your entree home.

Packing your leftovers in a to-go bag will save you both time and money. If you buy a wrap at a fast-food chain, eat half and take the second part of the wrap home for lunch tomorrow. Don't feel forced to clean your plate.