The Washington Post recently described Detroit as a rising “food mecca.” Over the past year alone, Detroit’s food industry welcomed Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery, Treat Dreams, and Central Bar + Kitchen, just to name a few. The increasing number of restaurants, bakeries, and bars will likely increase your desire to try them all, especially if you are a self-proclaimed foodie. Unfortunately, this activity may be hazardous to your health and your wallet. Is dining out on occasion really that detrimental? Most likely not. However, it is important to remember one of the most important words when it comes to food and nutrition: moderation. Not only would this be gentle on your body, but on your budget as well.
If your friends invited you out for dinner this weekend, how can you plan out your week so you avoid over-indulging during the weekend? It is your best friend’s birthday tomorrow and your friends are all going out to a pricier restaurant, but you don’t want to miss the festivities. How do you handle this situation? The following tips will cover these scenarios and more.
WSU Nutrition Tip #1: Plan Ahead
If you have been trying to get back into a healthy routine, dining out can sometimes be a road block. Remember, it is okay to indulge sometimes, and you should not feel guilty about it. If you are trying to stay on track, plan your meals and snacks out in advance so you don’t feel bad about going out to dinner or grabbing dessert with your friends during the weekend.
WSU Nutrition Tip #2: Order with Creativity
Certain circumstances make it difficult to avoid eating out. If this is the case, do some research. If you know which restaurant you will be dining at, familiarize yourself with the menu in advance. Not only can you get a sense of the price range, but you can also scope out healthier options. If the menu is pricier than expected, sharing is caring. Ask your friends if they would be interested in splitting a few appetizers or sharing a larger menu item.
WSU Nutrition Tip #3: “Where do you want to eat?”
This seems to be one of the most difficult questions, especially when you are bombarded with so many great options in Detroit. Sometimes you aren’t in charge of where you and your friends or family dines out. But when you do have the driver’s seat, here are some tips for eating healthier around the D.
La Pita on campus—If you are looking for a quick lunch stop, La Pita is very convenient option. The pita sandwich combo (~$7) could be an ideal choice since it comes with your choice of rice, fries, soup, salad, or hummus and a drink. Try the Chicken Tawook pita for a leaner option and instead of choosing rice or fries, opt for a side salad. Beware of the beverages, though. 16 oz of Coca-Cola contains 52 grams of sugar.
Goodwells Natural Foods Market off campus—Just a 12 minute walk from campus, this nifty little place is located right next to Avalon Bakery. Their menu may be small, but it is full of affordable, healthy, and delicious options. One of their most popular items includes their pita pocket sandwiches (~4). Try the Famous Pocket Sandwich or the Avocado Delight.
Small Plates for group outings—Don’t be fooled by the name of this restaurant. With a long-winded menu, you and your friends, co-workers, or family members are bound to find a few plates to share. While eyeing the menu, keep the five food groups in mind. Try these not-so-small plates: Pan Asian ($6), Quinoa & Kale ($7), Lotus Flower Tuna ($13)
The list can go on and on, but these tips can apply to any restaurant outing. Making healthier (and budget-friendly) choices might take more effort, but in the long-run it will have been well worth it.