January 20, 2019

How To Make Dining Out Fresh, Healthy And Affordable For Families

There are times when pulling together a meal at home isn’t in the cards; and finding time to cook a meal and gather everyone around the table is just too hard. The easiest time-saving solution is going out to eat, but that too can seem daunting when looking  for a family meal that has both good nutrition and comes at a reasonable cost. Not to fear, menus and prices are changing.

Greater emphasis has been placed on eating fresh, and, when possible, local foods in recent years. And, as the demand for healthier menu options has grown across a wider audience, more restaurants at a variety of price points have responded by offering foods made with fresh ingredients, at prices that won’t hurt the family budget.

This trend also means that consumers have to be savvy about where – and what – they’re eating. What’s presented as healthy isn’t always the best choice. The best defense here is a good offense. Becoming informed about the dishes you’re likely to pick and the restaurants you frequently visit will allow you to make the right choices.

There are a few key things to look for when taking the family out for a meal:

* Fresh ingredients. These can be particularly hard to come by in a restaurant setting, so it’s good to find restaurants that have a mission to serve fresh foods. Some restaurants, like Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes, make the effort to ensure that the food they offer on their salad bar and the ingredients in their freshly prepared foods come straight from the farm to the restaurant kitchen, with as little transit time as possible in between. That means that the food not only tastes better, it’s also in optimal condition for healthy eating.

* A wide variety of options. Families have to cater to a lot of very different taste preferences, which can make dining out a challenge. And we all know it can be a challenge to get kids to choose healthy foods over junk food. By going out together to a restaurant that has a buffet format coupled with freshly-made wholesome foods, you’ll be able to let everyone pick out what’s to their taste with the peace of mind that they’re eating well.

* Know nutrition. Make it a point to talk to your family about healthy ingredients and how they make a difference in their lives. It’s also useful to explain calories – how many go into a healthy diet, what’s too little and what’s too much – and give kids examples of how many calories are in a variety of prepared foods. Some restaurant websites, like that of Souplantation, make it easy to find out exactly what the nutritional values are in each item they serve. Having a realistic view of what goes into the food you eat plays a big role in making healthy choices when eating out.

By knowing what to look for, it’s easier to make smart choices at restaurants that are wallet-friendly, disproving the myth that it costs a lot to eat the healthiest foods. And when you find a place that meets the requirements of healthy, affordable and fresh, spread the word to friends. Whether you go out on a multi-family lunch date or give restaurant gift cards, you’ll be sharing smart ways to stay healthy with your family and friends.

About Anthony Dobson