EATING OUT! HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES

EATING OUT! HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES

I don’t know about you but I love eating out. It is social, it is fun but it can also be stressful… especially when you are trying to be healthier.

Whether it is meals out with friends and family or traveling with work, we all want to know how we can stay on track but still enjoy those meals out. Am I right?

Well, I just want to let you know that there is no need to be stressed. It is possible to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle while eating out. All you need to do is learn to make the right choices!

We might not know which food options are loaded with fat and extra calories so it can become difficult for those who are trying to shed fat. It doesn’t mean that you should miss out on the fun.

The good thing is, most restaurants and cafes now serve healthier options that are annotated on the menus.

But you can also follow these simple guidelines for help you make guilt free and healthy food choices…

DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES

Both alcoholic and no-alcoholic drinks are usually full of sugar so it’s best to avoid those fancy cocktails. Instead, opt for a simple glass of wine or a spirit with a low calorie mixer.

For those non-alcoholic options, obviously plain water is the best option but if you prefer something a little tastier, you should go for a light lemonade.

STARTERS

If would rather not skip the starter, a simple rule here is to avoid fried or breaded foods which are usually high in calories.

If you are opting for a soup, the healthiest choices are tomato or broth based soups. Cream soups tend to contain heavy cream or egg yolks so the calories tend to be higher.

SALADS

Salads are a great option for a starter but there are a few things to watch out for.

Instead of going for a honey based dressing, try a squeeze of lemon, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. If you prefer a dressing based salad, personally I tend to ask for the dressing to come separate so that I can control the amount I use.

Another healthy tip is to avoid cheese, potatoes, bacon and croutons. Stir fries are a great option instead of salad too.

WATCH YOUR PORTION SIZES

Depending on the restaurant, sometimes a meal for one will come out and contain enough food to feed 2-3 people. In this situation, split the dish with another person instead of eating the entire portion yourself.

If there is no one to split the dish with, be mindful of when you are full and don’t be tempted to keep eating if you are not hungry.

And if you are in a fast food restaurant or cafe, order the smaller sized meal instead of the larger one. If possible and swap the fries and carbonated drink for something healthier too.

Eating at a buffet, just make sure you check the whole buffet before filling your plate.

Always start with a soup and when it comes to filling your plate, start with veggies and opt for non fried and less oily options.

If you want to go back for a second plate, always wait 5-10 minutes after eating before going back.

FOCUS ON A PROTEIN SOURCE

Always centre your meal around a source of protein like chicken, fish or chickpeas.

Protein is great for helping your body recover from exercise and also helps to keep those cravings away. This means you shouldn’t be going home and raiding the cupboards.

MAKE YOUR MEALS LOW IN FAT

Don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant staff how they prepare the meal. Check whether the food is broiled, poached, grilled, baked or steamed as it will be lower in fat the fried foods.

Limit foods that come with sauce or gravy, have them served on the side if you need to so that you can control the amount you eat.

If you are ordering sandwiches or burgers, opt for wholewheat or multigrain bread where possible and add extra vegetables.

If you are ordering a meal deal, instead of choosing a carbonated drink and sugary or fatty snack, try switching to water and fruit or plain yogurt instead.

ADD FRUIT, VEG AND WHOLE GRAINS

Always opt for brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat or multigrain bread and tortillas instead of white rice, pasta or bread.

Order extra vegetables with your meals and eat these first to help you fill up so that you don’t over eat.

If you want to have a dessert, replace with fruit to curb that sugar craving.

BE CONSCIOUS OF WHAT YOU EAT WHILE TRAVELLING

Hotels now have a great selection of healthy items, including fresh fruits so if you follow the guidelines above you should have no problems.

One of the things that usually gets forgotten when it comes to travelling is to make sure you drink plenty of water. You should also pack some healthy snack options like fruit and nuts to avoid unhealthy snacking.

Just remember, dining out is not a reason for letting go of your health goals but you also shouldn’t restrict yourself of all the foods that you love.

These guidelines are just some of the things that you can do to help keep you on track but one unhealthy meal is not going to hurt anything as long as you stay on track the rest of the time.

What tips would you give to someone who is struggling to make healthy choices when eating out?

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