Ways to Stop Making Unhealthy Choices at the Restaurant

Someone invites you out for lunch. You remind yourself that you are going to stay healthy. You go to the restaurant with every intention of buying that grilled chicken spinach salad with a vinaigrette dressing – but wait a second, that double bacon cheese burger looks pretty good. Oh, and those fries – those look pretty good too! You should treat yourself some times, right? It’s not often that you get to go out and eat with your friend…

STOP! Do not sabotage yourself or your health simply because you have gone out to eat. Part of staying healthy is knowing when to say “NO” to the temptations that restaurants present us with. It’s been found that craving these high fat foods is actually exactly what the restaurant business wants. Restaurants would rather entice you to order their high fat, low cost foods rather than the healthier, more expensive and less profitable healthy ones. So their menus are covered in large pictures of French fries, onion rings, towering juicy burgers and large steaks. Your eyes will undoubtedly fall on these pictures of unhealthy fattening foods, but remind yourself it’s just a ploy so that the restaurant can make the most money off of you by offering you cheap, fatty foods. They certainly don’t have your health in their best interest.


Here’s another way to try and cut back on the cravings: cut out the “descriptive” words for any food item. Those “hand battered” dynamite shrimp sound great, and so does the “crispy” chicken sandwich or the “thick and juicy” burger, but these words all translate into one thing: FAT. Cut out these words and look at what the item really is: shrimp that’s been sunk into a vat of fat, chicken that has been zapped of all possible nutrients, and a “juicy” burger that’s essentially sweating out fat.

Something else that is interesting about the ‘healthier’ options being offered in restaurants: it has been found that even if a healthier option is placed right beside its less healthy counterpart (say a crispy chicken salad next to a grilled chicken salad) we will still tend to choose the higher fat option. Why? Because just looking at healthier food actually indulges our desire to choose something healthier, which is why we then feel that it is “okay” to choose the less healthy option. Remind yourself of this next time you go out to eat, be conscious of how our mind works in such a situation, and make sure you stick with the healthier option.

One thing that tricks a whole lot of us into buying unhealthy foods is the presence of vegetables. Sounds contradictory, but when we see a small side salad next to a cheesy quesadilla we often feel that we are fulfilling our need to choose healthy foods simply because we have chosen a side salad over French fries. Large burgers that are also shown with crisp, leafy lettuce, thick cut tomatoes and red onions also trick us into believing we are choosing a healthy option. Though choosing vegetables over fries is great, it’s just a small compromise. Try to keep the main course as healthy as possible.

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