Eating at restaurants can be such a fun and exciting activity to enjoy with your friends and family from time to time. Sometimes you want to indulge and get your favorite meal, but what about the times when you’re not really feeling indulgent and just want something that will make your body and brain feel great? Here are 5 of the fit team’s favorite tips for making those nutritious choices while you’re at a restaurant.

Start with your drink. Having a glass of water or milk is a great way to kick off a delicious and nutritious meal. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, ask for lemon and squeeze it into your water for a refreshing taste! Other delicious drink options include unsweetened tea or sparkling water if it’s available.

Let’s look at sides. When you order your meal, look at all the options for sides. Getting a side salad or a side of steamed vegetables is a great way to get some vitamins and nutrients in for the day! Many restaurants also offer sides like fresh fruit, mixed vegetables, or even low-fat yogurt. If fresh options aren’t available, you can always go without or order a small side too. No side choices listed on the menu? Ask your server if there are any substitutions you could make!

Did someone say dressings? It’s easy to go over the top when it comes to dressings and sauces. One easy solution? Ask for your salad dressings or condiments on the side, that way you can control how much you use and consume. This is also a fun way to try different condiments if another person tries something new!

Time for the main course. Restaurant portions can be bigger than you might be used to, and that’s okay! Did you know that today’s hamburgers are almost twice the size as a hamburger 30 years ago? You don’t have to eat everything on your plate, and what you don’t eat today will make a great lunch tomorrow. If you’re not looking to bring home leftovers, consider splitting your plate with someone or getting an appetizer instead! Appetizer portions are usually smaller than the same thing in a full meal.

Don’t forget your side of kindness. Restaurant experiences are meant to be enjoyable! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not able to swap out your French fries for steamed veggies. Do your best to make choices that will fuel your body well, and have fun, no matter what you’re eating.

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