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Restaurant dining

Healthy Tips For Dining Out

There are several reasons for dining out at a restaurant. Whether it’s a new hot spot you’ve had your eye on, for a social gathering, or simply a much-needed break from the kitchen, you deserve a nice night out. And while it is great to treat yourself, it does not mean you have to abandon your diet completely.

Despite hidden calories and large portions, there are ways to create a delicious and healthy restaurant dining experience.

Healthier Choices

  • Just say no to appetizers, which are usually loaded with unnecessary calories. If you want to start with an appetizer, a green salad with dressing on the side is a better option.
  • To prevent overeating, you should aim to fill half of your plate with fruit and/or vegetables (and no, potatoes do not count), and the other half with lean protein and whole grains.
  • Skip the sodium-laden soups. Instead, go for a salad, which offers less sodium and more potassium-rich veggies.
  • Restaurant portions are notorious for being oversized, so, if you can, order a lunch portion, box up half of your meal for later, or split an entrée with a friend.
  • As tempting as they may be, bypass the complimentary bread or chips. These fillers will just stuff you with unnecessary and empty calories and carbs.

Salads

  • Choose Darker Greens – Darker greens have more nutrients per serving than the popular romaine or iceberg lettuce.
  • Pick A Good Protein – Good protein choices include egg whites, egg slices, grilled tofu, tuna, beans, chicken, and seafood.
  • Cut The Cheese – You really don’t need the cheese, do you? Skip the excess calories, saturated fat, and sodium that cheese provides.
  • Smart Toppings – Instead of adding crunch from oily, refined flour (crispy wontons, croutons) and salty sodium bombs (olives, bacon), add crisp veggies and fruit to add more texture and flavor. Load up on nutrient-dense toppings such as broccoli, carrots, chickpeas, black beans, edamame, roasted peppers blueberries, mango, or strawberries.
  • Dress Better – It’s always wise to get the dressing on the side so that you can control how much or how little dressing you use. You may even be able to create your our dressing using oil and vinegar.

Sandwiches

  • Whole Wheat > White Bread – Always a better choice as it provides more nutrients. And please note that “multigrain” may mean more white flour than whole wheat.
  • Avoid Wraps – Unless they are whole grain, skip the wraps (they can have up to as many calories as white bread). Or try a lettuce wrap. You can drop refined grains for whole food. And if you’re feeling adventurous, turn your sandwich into a salad.
  • Craving a sandwich? Opt for a half sandwich, half salad combo. That way, you can get your sandwich fix while taking in more vegetables, too.
  • Smart Sides – When it comes to side dishes, opt for fresh fruit or steamed veggies over chips or bread.

Coffee

  • Choose Nonfat Milk – If you don’t particularly like nonfat, take baby steps and do half nonfat, half 2% milk.
  • Pros & Cons Of Non-Dairy Milk – Soy milk provides around 8g of protein per cup, but depending on the brand, they may have added sugar. Almond milk may have less sugar, but also less protein. Skip the coconut milk as it is low in protein and high in saturated fat.
  • Skip The Whipped Cream – Save yourself from excess calories and saturated fat.
  • Skip The Syrup – Sugar-free syrups may be made with unsafe sweeteners, but if you must, ask for a single pump of regular syrup.
  • Order Brewed Coffee and make your own modifications (one packet of sugar adds about 20 calories.

How do you stay healthy when you dine out? Share your tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

At the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli, we serve a variety of signature sandwiches and salads made to order. Visit us in store, online or have our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS. We also provide catering for business lunches, special events and parties. Call 909-596-5225 to learn more!

Restaurant Do’s & Don’ts

When it comes to restaurants, as with most things, there is a sort of unspoken dining etiquette by which most people abide. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of these.  Here are a few do’s and don’ts to make for a better restaurant dining experience.

  • DON’T be a no-show. If you made a reservation, you should either show up on time or give the restaurant a call to cancel or let them know if you’ll be more than a few minutes late.
  • DON’T walk into a restaurant 5 minutes before closing time. Yes, they are still open, but be courteous and avoid lingering.
  • DON’T anonymously bash a restaurant online. Doing this anonymously does not really benefit anyone. If there is an issue, it’s best to bring it up while you are still there.
  • DO speak up. As stated, if there’s an issue or if something is not right, let your server know or ask for a manager. Restaurants want to maintain a happy atmosphere and will often do what’s right to keep the customer happy. By bringing it up, you give them the chance to make it right.
  • DO tip on the full bill. Regardless of coupons or discounts, tips should be based on the full amount of food and drinks and served.
  • DO be upfront about food allergies and other dietary restrictions. Despite identifying items as gluten-free or vegetarian-friendly, if you have a question about a dish, ask. Restaurants don’t want customers to fall ill and should be able to accommodate your needs. But remember to be reasonable with your expectations.

Do you have any other restaurant dining do’s or don’ts? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Dine with us for a delicious breakfast or lunch. We are open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Stop by, call ahead, or order online. And we are now offering delivery via DoorDash and UberEATS!

Restaurant Dining Advice

When you don’t feel like cooking or simply want to get out of the house for a bit, dining at a restaurant is a great option. Let’s be honest, we all deserve to treat ourselves to a nice meal every now and then. Unfortunately, restaurants don’t always provide the healthiest options. To refrain from overindulging when dining out, keep these healthy restaurant tips in mind.

Pay Attention To Salads
Sure, salads seem like a healthy meal choice, but depending on the ingredients, you may end up with more than you expected. First of all, most restaurant portions are larger than normal. If possible, get a half order. Secondly, take a look at those toppings. Things like fried chicken, candied nuts, cheese, tortilla strips, and croutons can quickly add excess sugar, fat, and calories. Look for salads topped with lean protein and additional raw veggies. Lastly, order the dressing on the side and use it sparingly. You may lightly dip each bite in dressing or even use fresh salsa in lieu of dressing.

Skip The Dips
When you want to order an appetizer for the table, dips are usually an easy go-to. Unfortunately, these dips are often high in fat and calories, and commonly paired with bread, chips, or crackers, which offer high carbs and little nutrition. Instead, seek out raw or steamed seafood, or raw veggies with salsa as an appetizer. You can even order a side salad to help fill you up before your meal – just remember to watch those toppings and dressing.

Swap Your Sides
Trade your French fries, coleslaw, and mashed potatoes for a side of steamed vegetables or a baked potato. With the latter, you want to use just a bit of butter, and possibly top it with steamed veggies or fresh salsa.

Downsize Your Portions
As mentioned, portions are often oversized at restaurants. This can be especially problematic for those who feel driven to clean their plates. Instead, ask for a box as your meal arrives and pack half of your food to-go, which can help to prevent overeating. Or you can choose an appetizer as your entrée.

Water Is Better
You may not want to waste calories on a beverage when water is so refreshing and hydrating. Try a lemon or lime wedge to add some flavor. In terms of alcoholic beverages, you may want to opt for clear liquor and soda water with a lemon or lime to avoid excess calories and sugar.

Choose The Right Condiments
Much like toppings and dressings can sabotage a salad, the wrong condiments can sabotage your meal. Mayonnaise, ranch, Caesar dressing, honey mustard, and ketchup can be high in calories and sugars. Mustard, vinegar and lemon are better options for adding flavor to your foods. When all else fails, a bit of salt and pepper are fine alternatives as well.

Check The Menu Ahead Of Time
Doing a little research beforehand can help you decide what you’re going to order and how you will customize it. Preparing ahead of time can help you avoid giving into last-minute cravings because you can’t decide on a healthy option. It can even help you avoid restaurants with limited healthy options.

How do you keep your restaurant meals healthy? Share your own tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

For delicious sandwiches and salads made fresh to order, visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! Order online, call ahead, or come on in and dine with us.

Eating Healthy At Different Restaurants

When cooking at home, you are in control of what you make and the ingredients that go into it. Unfortunately, when dining out at restaurants, you can never be too sure. Despite stricter regulations on the transparency of restaurant menus and nutritional information, excess calories, fats and sodium are still sometimes hidden.

Here are some helpful tips to make healthier restaurant meal choices when you dine out.

First and foremost, know the ingredients. Before you even enter the restaurant, you may want to search for an ingredients list or basic nutrition information on their website. Looking into this beforehand can help you plan a healthier meal.

Fast Casual
Lighter options in these settings include salads, soups and sandwiches. When it comes to salads, be wary of creamy dressings (ex. ranch, Caesar, bleu cheese) and “light” dressings (sodium and sugar is often used to compensate for the reduced fat and flavor). The better choice would be oil-based dressings (ex. balsamic vinaigrette) or even a simple oil and vinegar combo. And remember to always request the dressing on the side. When it comes to soups, researching in advance can come in handy as these are often high in sodium.

Fast Food Burgers
When it comes to burgers, your best bet is to stick to the basics – bun, patty, lettuce, tomato. You also want to avoid fatty ingredients such as bacon. When it comes to condiments, instead of ketchup, barbecue sauce and honey mustard, which contain high fructose corn syrup, try yellow or Dijon mustard. And most places now allow you to skip the bun and get it wrapped in lettuce instead.

Fast Food Chicken Joint
Choosing grilled chicken instead of fried chicken can save you calories, fat, and sodium. However, what you may not know is that most of these restaurants use MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is a flavor-enhancer that may cause nausea and migraines in some people. Again, researching ahead of time would be helpful in this case.

Coffee Shop
Skip the sugary blended drinks and opt for a basic cup of brewed coffee, a shot of espresso, or an Americano. The latter are filled with antioxidants and low in calories.

Deli
Sandwiches are basically made up of bread, protein, veggies, and condiments. Better-for-you options include whole-grain bread, whole-grain or Dijon mustard, and minimally-processed protein such as chicken breast or thinly-sliced roast beef. When it comes to salads, load up on veggies and use a bit of olive oil and vinegar.

Fast Mexican
Corn tortillas are the better than flour tortillas in that the latter are higher in calories, fat, and sodium. Use cheese in moderation as the shredded options often contain preservatives and artificial ingredients. Be conscious of your sodium intake and portion sizes if you opt to flavor your food with guacamole or salsas (ex. pico de gallo, black bean & corn, tomatillo).

Casual Dining
These restaurants offer a wide variety of foods so healthy options are not the main issue. Instead, you need to be mindful of portion sizes. Keep your choices simple and pay attention to sodium.

Steakhouse
While there are nutritious options available here, unhealthy favorites are usually more tempting (ex. creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, prime rib). Choose the leanest cuts of beef (ex. sirloin, filet, New York strip) and keep it simple – avoid heavy sauces like béarnaise or peppercorn cream. For your sides, opt for steamed veggies. If they are not listed on the menu, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

How do you keep your meals healthy when you dine at restaurants? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Enjoy a healthy sandwich or salad at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli! We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. You can order online or get your favorites delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Money-Saving Restaurant Tips

Happy New Year! Did you resolve to spend less money at restaurants in 2018? Regardless of whether you did or did not, restaurant dining doesn’t always have to be a splurge. Here are some helpful, money-saving tips for dining out at restaurants.

Pay With Discounted Gift Cards
If you look in the right places, you can find chain restaurant gift cards for less than retail value. For example, wholesale stores (ex. Costco or Sam’s Club) often carry discounted gift cards.

Use Reservation Apps
Making reservations through apps can help you earn points. Once you’ve earned a certain amount of points, you may be able to cash out for a restaurant voucher.

Eat During Happy Hour
Happy Hour is not only reserved for discounted drinks, but many restaurants also offer discounted food items. Though prices and times may vary at different restaurants, dining during happy hour can potentially save you up to 15% on your bill.

Sign Up For Newsletters
Some restaurants may not heavily advertise their deals, so signing up for a newsletter and keeping up with their social media accounts may give you exclusive access to special deals.

Share Plates
Appetizers tend to be more affordable, so sharing a few of these and splitting a main dish may decrease your bill. When it comes to drinking, sharing a bottle of wine, or if the restaurant allows, bringing your own bottle may be more cost-effective. While there may be a corkage fee, you will avoid the markups and may still save money if you opt for a nicer wine.

What are some of your frugal restaurant dining tips? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

For an affordable and delicious meal, visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch six days a week! We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. You can order online to save some time, or get our yummy sandwiches delivered via DoorDash or UberEats.