India is becoming more and more health conscious over the last decade or so. With the influx of information through the media, health specific articles, internet etc. the average Indian is extremely adept at embracing a healthy lifestyle.

However we Indians love to eat and eat well too. No celebration, festivities or events is complete without good food. An average Indian household eats out or orders food at least twice a week.

In this scenario we need to take care of our nutritional health. Many food chains especially Fine Dine restaurants have added healthier options to their menus. We just need to know what and how to look for them. Some tips to help making eating out a healthier treat.

  1. Ask for it your way Ask for slightly healthier changes in the menu. Trust me, no one mind’s doing a little bit extra to retain a good customer. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it to be grilled. If french fries or chips accompany some food item, ask for a side of veggies instead.
  2. Order from the “healthy, light, low fat” food items on the menu. Many restaurants will list the calories and nutritional content of all the foods and beverages they serve. However beware that low carbs doesn’t always mean low calories.
  3. Try only appetizers If  the restaurant serves a variety of seafood and vegetable based appetizers, you may consider skipping the main course. Instead devour the appetizers. Often, that is more than enough food to fill you up.
  4. Order a salad before ordering anything else on the menu Order a big veggie salad before the main course. However avoid creamy and cheese based salad dressings. Ask for raw vegetables salad or a few well-drained marinated vegetables (artichoke hearts, red peppers, or mushrooms) and you can add some fruits or nuts.
  5. Read between the lines Read the menu description well before ordering. Any food which uses the words creamy, breaded, crisp, sauced, or stuffed to describe it is likely to be loaded with hidden fats. Most of which would be saturated or even trans fats.
  6. Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket If you must have something to munch on while you wait for your order, ask for a plate of raw vegetables or some bread sticks.
  7. Skip the fancy drinks If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, piña coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks. They include sugary additions that only add to calories. Instead ask for a glass of wine, a light beer or a  vodka and tonic. Anything with less sugar content.
  8. Order Seafood You can order seafood so many different ways—steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled. Fried is a big no-no.
  9. Drink water throughout the meal It will slow you down, help you enjoy the food more, and let the message get to your brain that you’re full even before your plate is empty.
  10. Skip the dessert You can always have some sorbet or even a small piece of chocolate at home. That is much better health wise than the Hot Chocolate Fudge or brownie topped with two scoops  of ice cream.