Eating at restaurants might be getting healthier, but it’s still not a great diet plan. So to help us all make better decisions when we’re eating out, the Upshot blog from the New York Times put together a few recommendations focused on helping diners eat meals that top out at 750 calories.
For starters, you should seek out healthier options to begin with. If you’re going to go the chain route, look for salad places like Chop’t, vegetarian options like Maoz Vegetarian or places that practice good portion control like Pret A Manger. Speaking of portion control, if a restaurant won’t do it for you, do it yourself: Get comfortable splitting entrees or taking parts of meals home (even by putting them aside as soon as you get them). If you don’t have that kind of willpower, just forgo entrees altogether. Many of today’s appetizers are similar in size to the entrees of yore.
Regardless of where you choose to eat, they also recommend going with items that are big in flavor but low in calories. A good example: Mustard provides more zip and fewer calories than mayonnaise.
To wrap up their advice, the Times article provides a reminder that even places known to be the enemy of a good diet—like The Cheesecake Factory and McDonald's—can still be OK if you pick the right options. The Cheesecake Factory, for example, went to great pains to fill their SkinnyLicious menu with more than 50 items, making it, in the words of the authors, “longer than the entire menu at many restaurants.” Although, any recent visitor to the Cheesecake Factory knows 50 items accounts for a pittance of the tome-like menu.
We should note, as many commenters over at the Times already have, the suggestions are not exactly geared toward the farm-to-table set. But hey, if someone is already eating a meal of locally grown ramps and fiddlehead ferns, they probably didn’t need help eating healthier anyway.