Eating Out the Healthy Way
Eating out at a restaurant or café is a nice treat, but it can be difficult to make healthy meal choices when you’re not cooking them yourself. While this isn’t a problem if you only eat out on special occasions, eating out regularly can leave you consuming much more salt, sugar and fat than you realise. Here are a few things you can do to avoid over-indulging when you eat out.
Say No to Nibbles
At many restaurants, you’ll be offered small snacks, such a bread sticks or nuts, to nibble on while you browse through the menu, but you’re best off saying no to these. They’re an unnecessary addition to your meal that will only increase your overall calorie intake.
Don’t Shy Away from Requests
Don’t be afraid of making special requests or asking your waiter about the healthiest options. Many restaurants will be accommodating enough to make small changes to your meal which will reduce its salt, fat or calorie content. To keep your meal as healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to ask for salt not to be added to it during cooking or preparation, or to request that the chef holds back on the oil or butter. You might want to ask for sauces or dressing to be served separately so you can control the amount you add to your meal.
Go for Two Courses Instead of Three
Lots of people like to indulge in a full three-course meal when eating out, but try to cut down to two to avoid excess calories. Decide at the start of the meal whether you’d like to go for a starter and a main or a main and a dessert, and stick to just the two.
Choose Lean Meats
When opting for a meat-based dish, try to choose leaner cuts which contain less saturated fat than higher-fat cuts, and are full of protein and iron. Anything’s that’s grilled or barbequed is likely to be a healthier choice than meaty pastry dishes like Beef Wellington.
Choose Side Dishes Wisely
When eating out, many people tend to order more sides than they need or are even able to eat, when one should be enough. Getting your five a day is important, so if your meal doesn’t come with any vegetables order some separately as a side dish or ask for a side salad.
Don’t Feel the Need to Clean Your Plate
While you may feel it’s good manners to eat everything you’re served, restaurants often serve larger portions than you’d typically prepare for yourself, so don’t feel the need to finish it all. Eat slowly and stop when you’re full. If you have food left over you can always ask for a ‘doggy bag’ to take the rest of your dish home.
Avoid Over-Indulging When it Comes to Dessert
If you find it difficult to resist ordering your favourite sweet dessert, consider sharing it with someone else. This way you’ll be able to enjoy the taste while consuming less sugar and calories. Remember, there are healthier dessert options too. Fruit-based puddings are a good choice, although it’s best to avoid having cream or ice cream with them, both of which can be high in saturated fat.
Remember, a woman should be having around 2,000 calories a day while a man needs around 2,500. More and more restaurants are including calorie content information in their menus or on their websites. If you have this information or your waiter is able to give it to you, this can help to guide your choices. Asking a few questions, making a special request or two, and avoiding the mistake of over-ordering will allow you to stay true to your diet and enjoy eating out the healthy way.