Tips To Help You Stick To Your Heart-Healthy Diet While Dining Out

If you've been placed on a heart-healthy diet by your doctor or cardiologist, you might be wondering how it's possible to stick to your diet while dining out. Fortunately, you don't need to avoid eating at your favorite restaurants to follow your diet plan, but you do need to know how to order healthier meals. Check out these tips to learn how to dine at restaurant without veering away from the diet your cardiologist recommended you follow.

Portion Control

The type of food that you put in your body is important, but it's also just as important to control the amount of food that you consume in any one sitting. Unfortunately, it's difficult for many people to determine what a healthy portion of food looks like in a restaurant, because restaurants tend to serve large portions of food. In addition to serving larger portions of food, many restaurants offer extras, such as chips or bread, at the beginning of your meal. So, when you eat at a restaurant consider controlling your portion size by splitting a meal with a friend, or placing one half of your food in a to-go container before you begin eating.

Ordering Drinks

While it hasn't been determined whether people with high caffeine intakes are at a higher risk for a heart attack, many cardiologists recommend that patients following a heart-healthy diet at the very least limit their caffeine intake. In fact, some cardiologists recommend avoiding caffeine completely. If you are allowed to consume a limited amount of caffeine, feel free to order a cup of hot tea or coffee with your meal. However, both should be avoided if your cardiologist wants to you refrain from consuming caffeine completely. Regardless of whether or not you can consume some caffeine, you should always avoid ordering soft drinks and other sugary drinks. Instead choose to drink low-fat milk, water, or unsweetened tea.

Order Your Meal Wisely

The key to sticking to a heart-healthy diet while dining at a restaurant is ordering meals that are low in trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol. To do this:

  • Order vegetable-based meals, such as a grilled chicken salad or vegetable stir fry
  • Avoid greasy foods, such as burgers or pizza
  • Avoid fried foods
  • Order from the vegetarian menu if the restaurant has one
  • Ask for sauces, cream, salad dressing, and gravy to be served on the side so that you can limit the amount you consume
  • Choose healthy side dishes, or skip the side dishes completely
  • Order your meal without cheese, or other high-fat ingredients

Just because your cardiologist wants you to stick to a heart-healthy diet, you don't have to stop eating out. Instead, learn how to control your portion sizes and order healthy menu options so that you can continue to enjoy dining out with your friends and family.

For more information about heart-healthy lifestyles, check out the site and others like it.