Autumn View Gardens offers restaurant-style dining with from-scratch specials and private dining for special occasions, but sometimes you want to experience the restaurant options in Creve Coeur. Whether you're trying to improve your eating habits or on a special diet, dining out can be a little challenging. You want to enjoy the experience, but you don't want any negative health consequences. These tips can make dining out a positive experience.
Some restaurants make it easier than others to find healthy eating choices. Research restaurant menus online before you pick a spot to find something with healthy options that sound delicious to you. You might look for a spot with grilled chicken or fish, for example. Check the side options as well to make sure they have more than fries and onion rings. You can sometimes find the nutritional information for menu items online so you can start planning your meal before you go.
Many restaurants have a section of the menu dedicated to healthier food options. This can be a good place to start when you're looking for a lighter meal. If you go during lunch, you might have the option of ordering from a lunch menu with smaller portions, so you can splurge on the meal you want without eating too much.
Some dishes seem healthy, but they can sometimes have just as many calories as less healthy options. The lettuce base of any salad makes it automatically seem healthy, but salads can often be high in calories. Many salads include things like fried chicken pieces, cheese, tortilla strips and croutons that can increase the fat, calorie and salt content significantly. Many salad dressings are also high in fat and calories.
Salads are still a healthy source of veggies, but make sure you're aware of what you're consuming. Look for salads with lots of vegetables and healthier proteins like grilled chicken or black beans. You can also ask them to go light on things like the cheese and croutons so you can still enjoy the delicious flavor while making the salad a healthier option.
Going out to eat often feels like a treat, so you might not want to eat a boring salad or grilled chicken and broccoli. Try picking one splurge item and balancing it with a healthier option. If you're craving a breaded chicken sandwich, pair it with a side salad or mixed vegetables. If onion rings are your weakness, choose them as your side along with seared salmon. You get to indulge in your cravings, but you don't go overboard on heavy food options.
Going to a restaurant is often a social event, whether you go with family or friends. You can bond even more by sharing a meal with one of your dining partners if you have the same tastes. This gives you a smaller portion but still lets you indulge. If no one else wants to share, divide your meal in half when it arrives at the table as a signal to stop eating. You can take the rest home to enjoy for another meal.
You probably think about the nutritional facts of the meal you order, but it's easy to forget about the calories in your drink. If you're trying to stay within certain boundaries when you dine out, stick with water, unsweetened tea or other no-calorie drinks. Drinking your calories with soda or other sugary beverages can result in a much higher calorie and sugar consumption for the meal.
Restaurants often cook their food in lots of butter and oil. It's also common for the dishes to contain high sodium levels. You can request modifications to your meals to cut down on these ingredients. The chef might still need to include some of those ingredients to cook the food properly, but they're often willing to accommodate your requests as much as possible. You can also ask for sauces, condiments and dressings on the side so you can control how much you use.
When you're planning to dine out for a meal, you know you'll likely eat more sodium, calories, fat and other nutrients during that meal. Adjusting your other meals to lower things like your sodium intake can help you balance it out for the day. You can also eat a healthy snack shortly before you go to the restaurant so you don't feel like you're starving. This can help you feel satisfied with smaller portions of restaurant food, which often isn't as healthy as what you cook at home.
If you only go out to eat occasionally, one meal with lots of splurges won't throw off your entire healthy eating streak. Keep dietary restrictions in mind if you have a health condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, that could cause an urgent health issue. Outside of medically necessary restrictions, don't worry too much about splurging. Enjoy the treat and get back on track with your next meal.
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