Whether it’s posh nosh or a quick sandwich lunch, eating out is becoming the norm for many people. Recent dietary surveys show that we eat up to a quarter of our calories outside of our home each day.
Of course, lots of food in restaurants is healthy, but restaurant foods tend to be higher in fat, the portions can be bigger and they serve you temptations that you simply wouldn’t keep in your kitchen at home. Unfortunately, this can add up to extra calories, fat and salt if you are not careful.
You want to enjoy eating out without feeling guilty. So here are a few pointers to keep you healthy without spoiling the fun.
Eat a small, healthy snack a couple of hours before your meal to make sure you are not tempted to eat everything in sight.
At the beginning of a meal, when you are hungry, it’s very easy to fill up on the bread, poppadams, tortilla chips, etc. Try to avoid these extras.
Make sure your starter is something light, like soup or salad. That way, there is a good chance that you won’t eat too much later on during the rest of the meal.
Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or alterations. Ask for sauces and dressing on the side, vegetables to be served without butter, salad or extra vegetables instead of chips. Most places are used to this.
Go for vegetable, chicken or fish dishes over fattier meat dishes. Avoid creamy sauces in favour of tomato-based sauces. Choose baked or boiled potatoes over chips. Ask whether the food can be grilled instead of fried.
Enjoy your meal and the company. Give your body time to give you the signal that you are satisfied.
You don’t have to clean your plate. Cover the remaining food with your napkin if you like.
If you are still hungry, try to choose one of the lower fat dessert options like fruit or sorbet. If you want to go for one of the more indulgent options, why not share?
Enjoy your glass or two of beer or wine, and sip water with your drink to reduce your alcohol intake.
Whether it’s Chinese, Indian or barbequed food that tickles your fancy, take a look at our tips on how to stay on track when eating these types of food.