Eating out has never been easier. There are tons of restaurants and the prices are more affordable than ever. Not to mention with our increasingly hectic and busy lifestyles, nowadays we are more likely to eat out.
Eating out in a restaurant is fast – no need to cook or to wash dishes, while you’re waiting for your food you might be able to respond to a few emails awaiting a response or even finally call your mum. It is considerably cheap and often we are willing to pay the price for a meal not necessary because of the meal itself but the fact that we don’t need to do anything other than eat.
But, yes there is a BUT, there is one minor problem. Eating out can seriously sabotage your weight loss if that is your current goal, but often isn’t the healthiest of options for your overall health. In restaurants they tend to use a lot of fat (oils, butters, cream, etc.), salt, and sugar for example to make the food taste richer and more delicious to the consumers. So let’s see what you can do to eat healthier when eating out!
Best choices to make when eating out:
- Seek restaurants that actually offer healthy nutritious food, and treat yourself to what your body needs and deserves. Although most restaurants nowadays carry out healthy dishes, a Thai or Mediterranean restaurant would be a better choice than steak house for example (apologies to those red meat lovers out there!).
- Try not to be negative – there are always simpler and healthier options. Ask your waitress for healthier alternatives, they are often happy to help. Most restaurant now even mark healthier options out in their menus. You are the boss so don’t be too afraid to kindly ask for what you would like, the way you want it.
- Be mindful on your portion sizes so there is no need to eat your plate clean. When you are full – you are full, and you can stop eating. It is OK to leave some leftovers, or even ask for the waitress to pack it for you to take away. You paid for your meal, you have all the right to take the rest home with you, even if it’s only a little portion.
TIPS ON HOW KEEP YOUR MEAL MODERATE IN CALORIES (FAT, AND SUGARS):
- Eat mindfully, meaning try to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and stop eating when you are full and have the leftovers packed to take away (lunch for the following day?). You saved lots of time by not cooking and having to clean the dishes so take an advantage of this to truly enjoy your meal.
- Ask for salad dressing to be served “on the side” so you can add only as much as you want – if you want. You can always just ask for a few slices of lemon, which makes for a delicious alkalising dressing for your salad.
- Order foods that do not have too fatty and creamy sauces or gravies. Not only it is too much grease and fat that unhealthy, it is also heavy on the digestion.
- Just because you’re eating out, it doesn’t mean you have to have a desert. If you are still a little hungry – go for it. Choose fruits for dessert, or sorbet instead of ice-cream. But if you are full, don’t force the issue. You can always run out for a coffee later and get that delicious raw cake from the coffee shop next to your office.
- Remember that you can always ask you waiter how a dish is cooked if it is not clear from the menu. Why? Because for example baked potatoes will be a better choice than fried potatoes.
- You can say no to bread or other nibbles before your meal arrives, as these are likely to increase your overall calorie intake.
EATING OUT TIP:
If you know you are going to be dining at a restaurant, aim to eat a filling and healthy breakfast, a lighter lunch, and a small snack before the dinner. If you starve yourself for most of the day, it will be harder for you to later resist the more indulgent (unhealthy: fatty, fried, and sweet) dishes on the menu.
FOOD SWAPS TIPS:
- Order lean meats such as chicken, fish (not fried) instead of pies, bacon and sausages
- Tomato and vegetable sauces instead of cream or cheese ones
- Rice that is steamed or boiled instead of fried (such as pilau rice and egg fried rice)
- Potatoes that are baked or boiled without added salt, butter or oil instead of chips or creamy mashed potatoes
- Fruit salads or other fruit-based desserts instead of cakes, chocolates or creamy puddings, biscuits, sweets and ice cream
- Vegetables and salads served plain, and not served with butter, oily dressings or mayonnaise