When summer swelter hits its peak, we all want to avoid heating up the kitchen. Going out to eat or bringing food in can be a cool choice at this time of year, even when you are trying to shed excess pounds. Just keep in mind all that you have learned from Nutrisystem about portion size. (Bookmark our handy Grocery Guide > so you can quickly check.) And always search for the healthiest foods to order.
Here are a few hints to help you choose the healthiest foods to order :
1. Grilled Chicken
White meat chicken is a PowerFuel that’s high in protein and healthy fats. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), you get 70 calories and 1.5 grams of fat in a 2-ounce serving of grilled chicken breast. Stay away from breaded fried chicken breast, which has a whopping 266 calories and 16 grams of fat in a similar size serving.
2. Sirloin Steak
Meat lovers can enjoy beef when eating out, but should order lean cuts, such as sirloin steak. Being mindful of portion size is especially important with beef—in restaurants steaks typically are at least 6 ounces, which is the equivalent of three servings. Pick beef dishes that are not served with glazes, which often are high in fat, sugar and calories.
3. Raw or Steamed Seafood
Shellfish, including crabs, shrimp and lobster, along with clams, mussels and oysters, turn any summer meal into a beach party. Better yet, they are an excellent choice when you’re trying to lose weight, too. Shellfish are PowerFuels, high in protein and low in saturated fats. Plus, they treat you to a dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to order raw or steamed options and steer clear of fried or sautéed items. Also pass on dipping seafood into melted butter or creamy sauces, which are high in fat and calories. Instead add extra flavor with a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of hot sauce—both Free Foods in your Nutrisystem plan.
4. Fresh Fish
“Catch of the day” is a summertime favorite, and it’s often among the healthiest foods to order in any season. Salmon (wild-caught or farmed), tuna, cod, flounder and other kinds of fish are PowerFuels that fill you up with protein, but are low in saturated fats and calories. Go with grilled, broiled, or poached fish, which won’t have added fats or other calories. Your best picks are dishes seasoned with herbs and spices and not coated with calorie-laden sauces or glazes.
Warm weather brings the peak of fresh produce season, a perfect time to order salads that are filling enough to be a meal. Add a PowerFuel, such chicken breast, tuna or chickpeas, along with the greens and other raw vegetables, to make a more satisfying salad. For dressing, go with balsamic or other vinegars and stay away from blue cheese, ranch or any other creamy type of topping.
6. Burrito Bowls
When the whole gang is craving Southwest flavors, a burrito bowl is the healthiest food for you to order. At a popular takeout chain, a packed burrito bowl can clock in close to 700 calories. No matter what you get in your bowl, pass on high-fat additions such as sour cream and queso. Ask for second helping of raw or grilled vegetables instead.
The rules of thumb for ordering healthy pizza are simple: Thinner crust has fewer calories and carbohydrates than thick crust; minimize the cheese; load up on veggies; beware of deep dish and stuffed crust options, which often have more excessive calories and saturated fats. Do you like meat on your pie? Consider Canadian bacon, which has 63 calories and 1.5 g of fat in 2 slices (3 ounces), according to the USDA. The same amount of pepperoni has an astounding 428 calories and 40 g of fat.
8. Lettuce Wraps
At a burger chain restaurant, a brioche bun can add an abundant amount of extra calories and carbohydrates to your choice of patty. Get it wrapped in lettuce instead, which comes with just 15 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates. Better yet, order a plant-based patty instead of beef and you can save more than half of the calories (320 vs. 800) and cut the fat content from 17 g to 2.5 g. Use as much mustard as you want atop your burger, but watch your servings of ketchup and mayo.
9. Chilled Soup
We usually think of soup as cold-weather food, but summertime menus often offer flavorful and cool choices such as gazpacho, cucumber-yogurt, potato-leek and even fruit-based soups. They can fill you up and help you get a serving or two of non-starchy vegetables. Just watch for those made with fat-laden crème fraiche rather than low- or nonfat yogurt.