It’s simple to overindulge when dining out due to the countless alternatives for delectable dishes and beverages. But not all foods from restaurants are made equally, and some may even be dangerously harmful. Making better decisions for your health and wellbeing might be made easier if you are aware of what to avoid.
Making informed selections requires knowledge about restaurant fare.
Many restaurant foods are processed and loaded with harmful fats, sugar, and sodium.
These foods may be a factor in weight gain, hypertension, and other health issues.
You can lower your risk of getting certain health problems and feel better overall by avoiding these foods.
Understanding Restaurant Foods
It can be tempting to indulge in all the tasty and luxurious things on the menu when you go out to dine.
Some dishes, though, are better left unattended.
Here are a few things to bear in mind while you browse a restaurant’s menu.
The quantities at restaurants are frequently substantially bigger than those you would regularly eat at home.
It’s critical to remember that you don’t have to do everything on your to-do list.
Take into account splitting a dish with a companion or bringing leftovers home for another meal.
On the surface, certain foods could appear nutritious, but they might be concealing dangerous components and large calorie counts.
Salads, for instance, may be topped with cheese, croutons, and dressings that are heavy in fat.
If you have any questions about a dish, make sure to ask your waitress for any nutritional details or ingredient lists.
Many restaurants frequently serve fried items, however they are frequently heavy in calories, bad fats, and sodium.
Try to stay away from fried foods or ask if they can be made in a healthy method, like on the grill or in the oven.
Coca-cola, sweet tea, and other sugary beverages can significantly increase the caloric content of your meal.
Instead, choose water, unsweetened iced tea, or request sparkling water with a dash of juice or soda.
Desserts frequently contain large amounts of calories, sugar, and bad fats.
Think about sharing a dessert with a friend or choosing something healthy, like sorbet or fresh fruit.
When dining out at a restaurant, you can choose healthier options by keeping these suggestions in mind.
It can be tempting to indulge in some of the menu’s most alluring items when dining out.
The majority of these recipes, however, are laden with processed ingredients that may be harmful to your health.
Foods that have been modified in some way during preparation are referred to as processed foods.
This could involve canning, drying, baking, or freezing. Unfortunately, a lot of processed meals are heavy in salt, sugar, and bad fats.
It’s critical to understand the types of processed foods that are frequently utilized in restaurant fare when eating out. Some of the worst violators are:
- Breaded and fried foods: Breaded and fried foods like chicken tenders, onion rings, and fried calamari are often made with highly processed flours and oils. These foods can be high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium.
- Processed meats: Many restaurants use processed meats like bacon, sausage, and deli meats in their dishes. These meats are often high in sodium and preservatives, and have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
- Condiments and sauces: Condiments and sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise, and barbecue sauce are often loaded with added sugars and preservatives. When dining out, it’s best to ask for these items on the side so you can control the amount you consume.
- Frozen and pre-packaged foods: Many restaurants use frozen or pre-packaged foods in their dishes to save time and money. These foods can be high in sodium, unhealthy fats, and preservatives.
You can have a tasty lunch while still prioritizing your health if you stay away from these processed foods and choose healthier alternatives instead, such as grilled meats, fresh veggies, and whole grains.
Sugary Drinks and Desserts
When dining out, sweetened beverages and desserts can be a seductive temptation.
However, ingesting excessive amounts of sugar can have harmful effects on your health, including weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes, and teeth damage.
You should steer clear of the following sugary drinks and desserts at restaurants:
One of the main sources of added sugar in the American diet is sugary drinks.
These drinks frequently have large calorie counts and little nutritional benefit. Some of the worst offenders are listed below:
|Sweet tea (16 oz)||180||44|
|Lemonade (16 oz)||210||56|
|Frozen coffee drink (16 oz)||300||60|
If you must have a sweet beverage, choose a smaller serving or go with water or unsweetened iced tea instead.
Desserts are not the best option for a healthy diet because they frequently contain significant amounts of sugar, fat, and calories. The following are some of the worst desserts to stay away from:
- Cheesecake: A typical slice of cheesecake can contain more than 300 calories and is loaded with sugar and artery-clogging fat.
- Chocolate lava cake: This decadent dessert can contain up to 1,000 calories and 50 grams of sugar.
- Ice cream sundae: A large ice cream sundae can contain up to 1,000 calories and 100 grams of sugar.
Consider splitting a dessert with a friend or ordering a smaller dessert if you want to fulfill your sweet taste. As an alternative, you might choose a healthier dessert like sorbet or fresh fruit.
Although they are a common menu item in many restaurants, fried meals are among the worst things you can consume.
They are not only heavy in calories, but they are frequently high in sodium and bad fats as well.
The worst fried dishes to stay away from when dining out are listed below:
Although they are a traditional side dish, French fries are among the worst things you can consume.
They include a lot of calories, bad fats, and sodium. Up to 400 calories and 17 grams of fat can be found in a single order of fries.
If you must have fries, consider splitting a larger piece with a friend or relative.
Although they are a common appetizer, mozzarella sticks are among the worst fried foods you can eat.
They are high in sodium, bad fats, and calories. Up to 300 calories and 18 grams of fat can be found in just three mozzarella sticks.
Try splitting an order with someone or choose a lesser portion if you want to indulge in some deliciously cheesy food.
Another well-liked starter is onion rings, although they are among the worst fried foods you can consume.
They include a lot of calories, bad fats, and sodium. Up to 500 calories and 26 grams of fat can be found in just six onion rings.
If onion rings are a must-have, consider splitting them with a friend or choosing a smaller portion.
Although it is a traditional dish, fried chicken is among the worst fried foods you can consume.
It contains a lot of calories, bad fats, and sodium. Up to 400 calories and 20 grams of fat can be found in one piece of fried chicken.
Try to share it with someone or choose a lesser portion if you want to eat some fried chicken.
Fish, calamari, and other seafood that has been fried are among the worst fried foods you can eat, despite the fact that they may be delicious.
It contains a lot of calories, bad fats, and sodium. Up to 300 calories and 20 grams of fat can be found in just six pieces of fried shrimp.
If you must have fried seafood, consider splitting it with a friend or choosing a smaller serving.
Fried dishes are generally among the worst things you may order at a restaurant. They include a lot of calories, bad fats, and sodium.
If you must eat fried items, consider splitting them with a friend or choosing a smaller piece.
High Sodium Foods
It’s crucial to be careful of dishes rich in salt when dining out.
Although sodium is a necessary nutrient, excessive consumption can cause high blood pressure and other health issues.
Some of the worst high-sodium restaurant meals, according to Prevention, include:
- Fried chicken
- Pasta dishes
- Chinese food
- Fried rice
- Sushi rolls
One serving of these foods can have more sodium in them than a person needs in a day.
For instance, a single serving of some Chinese dishes can have up to 5,000 milligrams of salt in it, which is more than twice the amount of sodium that a typical adult should consume daily.
If you eat out frequently, take into account the advice from WebMD to lower your sodium intake:
- Choose dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried.
- Ask for sauces and dressings on the side so you can control how much you consume.
- Request that your food be prepared without added salt.
- Avoid dishes that are described as “smoked,” “cured,” or “pickled,” as these often contain high amounts of sodium.
- Opt for dishes that include fresh vegetables and fruits instead of processed or canned versions.
When dining out, you may assist maintain a balanced diet and lower your chance of developing health issues linked to excessive salt consumption by being aware of high sodium items.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the worst foods to order at a restaurant?
Some of the worst foods to order at a restaurant include creamy soups, raw sprouts, and high-calorie dishes like chicken strips or burgers. These foods can be high in calories, fat, and sodium, and may contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
How can I avoid ordering unhealthy foods at a restaurant?
To avoid ordering unhealthy foods at a restaurant, start by looking at the menu before you go. Choose restaurants that offer healthy options like salads, grilled fish, or roasted vegetables. When you arrive, ask your server about the ingredients in your dish and how it’s prepared. You can also ask for substitutions like extra vegetables instead of fries or a side salad instead of a creamy soup.
Can I still enjoy dining out if I’m trying to eat healthily?
Yes, you can still enjoy dining out if you’re trying to eat healthily. Look for restaurants that offer healthy options, and don’t be afraid to ask your server for recommendations. You can also ask for modifications to your dish, like dressing on the side or grilled instead of fried. Remember to enjoy your meal in moderation and savor the flavors and textures of your food.
What should I do if I think I’ve eaten something unhealthy at a restaurant?
If you think you’ve eaten something unhealthy at a restaurant, pay attention to any symptoms you may experience like nausea or diarrhea. If your symptoms are severe or last for more than a day, contact your doctor. You can also report your experience to your local health department, which can investigate and take action if necessary.
- Many restaurant foods are processed and contain high amounts of sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
- Processed foods, sugary drinks and desserts, fried foods, and high sodium foods are some of the worst foods to eat at a restaurant.
- Making informed decisions and choosing healthier options can help reduce your risk of developing health issues.