Play it Smart When Going Out to Eat

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It may look good, but it might not be so good for you.

I go out to eat around once a week, usually on the weekends. It’s a nice change of pace, an opportunity to eat something tasty and filling that I may not necessarily be able to make for myself. Sometimes I grab a quick burger at a fast joint, other times it’s something more complicated like rice bowls. Whenever I do go out, though, I carefully craft a plan of action, and I stick to it.

You have to remember that a restaurant, even a homey, family-owned one, is still a business, and their business is selling you food. All of their food looks tasty because they want it to be appealing to you; they want to buy more than you’d realistically eat by yourself. I know it’s tempting to go for the bigger portions (a bigger problem here in the United States, but that’s neither here nor there), but doing so is setting yourself up for a tummy ache or worse.

Whenever possible, order smaller, more reasonable portions, preferably with a liberal helping of vegetables. You should also try to cut back on things like condiments and dressings; the dressing in a McDonald’s salad is fatty enough to almost completely invalidate any health benefits from the greens. Most modern places are more than willing to accommodate things like diets and allergies too, so if you need something clarified, don’t hesitate to make a request. After all, if they don’t help you, they could be faced with a lawsuit, a restaurant’s mortal enemy.

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If large portions are all that’s available, or it’s more cost effective to get some kind of meal deal, then at the very least, you don’t have to eat it all at once. Ask for a to-go bag, stick it in the fridge at home, and eat it in a day or two. If you have to eat all that food, at least spread it out a bit.