People are afraid of eating out because of the connotation that they are consuming more than their recommended daily caloric intake. However, when they are left without any options, they sometimes find themselves eating whatever has the least amount of calorie in the menu. And most of the time, it’s the basic salad without any dressing, meat, or heaven-forbid, no taste at all!
Restaurants are doing their best to have this negative image eradicated from the minds of consumers but, due to their use of too much salt or too much fat, it appears that all their efforts are in vain.
Fortunately, after a worldwide campaign of the World Health Organization, restaurateurs and business owners are now more educated when it comes to meal planning and how to incorporate healthy and nutritious foods in their menu, without sacrificing quality and taste of the foods.
One of the fastest growing trend today is the introduction of less-calorie menu which are discovered to be good options for health conscious individuals and people who are trying to manage their weight. Restaurants are tasked to create a menu that features most of their best sellers but can be considered as ‘lighter options’.
Known as the ‘600-calorie menu’, restaurants offer this to entice consumers into continuing to eat out without sacrificing their calorie-intake or avoiding the possibility of weight gain. Further more, most of the meals have a nutritional information breakdown to let the eaters know the total amount of calories they are consuming or what nutrients they can get from the meal.
An average individual has a daily caloric recommendation of 2000 calories thus, if an individual decides to eat in a restaurant and chooses to buy a meal from the 600-calorie menu, then he still has an allotted 1400 calories to fill for the whole day. Best of all, most the meals in the 600-menu are similar to what is being offered in the regular menu but at a reduced portion.
This invention has made individuals slowly trust eating out in restaurants again. In case the restaurant you love doesn’t offer the 600-calorie menu, you may always choose the following tips:
- Choose reduced-fat or fat-free dressings like yoghurts or pesto instead of the usual ranch or thousand island dressing.
- If you can’t see yourself eating your favorite food without its dressing, then ask the server to have it separated from the main meal. Through this practice, you are enabling yourself to have the power to control how much dressing, gravy or sauce you eat.
- Replace fried foods with baked options, like for nuggets, onion rings or hash browns. You may also request for a different side dish instead of the mashed potato or corn muffin.
- Choosing grilled or steamed foods over fried foods can also decrease the saturated fat you intake.
- Have the entrée or meal portioned into two so you are able to enjoy your favorite dish at a less number of calories. Save the rest for tomorrow.
- Avoid supersizing your drinks, sides or fries.
- Drink water with lemon or lime instead of soda or sweet drinks.
- Ask the chef to choose the leanest cut for your steak and to make sure it is grilled, not fried.
- You can also request the chef to under season your food if possible to avoid high sodium intake.
Weight management should never deprive you of what you crave or want from time to time because it can only increase your desperation to eat that food. Most weight experts believe that each person is entitled to a ‘cheat day’ but in moderation.
Cheat days are celebrated best in restaurants and with the introduction of the 600-calorie menu, you are assured that what you are eating is still within the daily amount you need to take.
What more, as these restaurants are now aware of what the health-conscious consumers want, they are doing their very best to provide the healthiest ingredients available in the market. The 600-calorie menu is not only reduced in calorie but is also rich in vitamins and minerals.
Take Newk’s Eatery for example, where their 600-calorie menu offers nothing but the healthiest options and using only their signature taste.
The Triple Take, a seasonal fresh fruit and pasta salad that offers the restaurant’s signature chicken salad with grapes and pecan, is already a complete meal at only 430 calories. The best-selling Soup Options, like the tomato basil, spinach & feta, and zest black bean, is definitely a hearty meal in a bowl.
Lastly, their Combo Options, where you can choose from the vegetarian offering of grilled steak, shrimp po’boy or turkey breast plus any of the soup options, like fire roasted tomato and chicken tortilla, making it the best 600 calories you’ve eaten that day.
So, what are you waiting for? Throw away all your hesitations out the window and give yourself a break from home cooking, as eating out has never been this healthy before.