Enjoying a night out with friends, or a dinner date with your loved one is all part of life – and you want to be able to enjoy yourself every now and then! Eating away from home at cafes and restaurants can be very daunting when you are trying to stick to a clean healthy diet. Below are my top tips for staying on track while eating away from home.
If you have found a restaurant that you would like to visit, call them up and see if they can fax or email a copy of their current menu through to you or your hotel or check on their website for their current menu. Another option is to check out the Healthy Dining Finder website. Knowing what you are going to be eating and planning your meal ahead of time can keep you on track.
If you are trying to watch your calories then I would recommend sticking with water, sparkling water or unsweetened tea. If you want to have a alcoholic drink, but still want to watch your calorie intake then I would recommend wine, rum and pineapple juice (you can have this with diet coke) or a gin and diet tonic and for cocktails I would stick to a cosmopolitan, apple martini, mojito or bloody mary. Note that any alcoholic drink that you consume will set you back around 100-250 calories per drink.
Skip the bread, if you want bread, share it with a group so you are less likely to overindulge. My tip? Choose bruchetta over garlic or cheesy bread. When it comes to ordering I would recommend choosing either an appetizer or a dessert (not both) to save on calories. If you would like to have an appetizer I would recommend choosing a salad, vegetable or seafood dish.
If you want to save on calories, consider ordering an appetizer-sized portion instead of a main dish. Don’t be afraid to ask for sauce on the side or salad instead of fries. If you like the look of a meal but not the way it is cooked, then ask for them to change it (grill the chicken, sauce on the side with steamed vegetables). When it comes to the dishes you want to look for meals that are described as grilled, baked, broiled, steamed, sautéed, poached or roasted. Avoid meals that are described as creamy, buttered, fried or battered as they are usually high in calories and fat. I would recommend sticking to seafood, lean meats, chicken, salads and vegetables, avoiding high calorie pasta’s and deep fried meals. Don’t forget to stop eating when you feel satisfied. It takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full, so if you continue eating past the point of satisfied, you may end up uncomfortably stuffed which can make you feel bloated and nauseous.
Ahhh desserts, my number one weakness when eating out. I usually splurge on dessert instead of cocktails, and in order to cut back on the calories I usually share the dessert with my husband. When I do get dessert it is either brownie or mud cake. For those of you out there who like to order dessert, the healthiest option would be fruit, sorbet or yoghurt, share it with a friend, or skip it altogether!
If you are someone who travels regularly or has trouble eating healthy when travelling (me), then I recommend taking your meals with you, especially breakfast and snacks. Before we head on vacation I pack a cooler with oats, protein powder, protein shaker cups. fruit, nuts and raw food bars (like larabars) to last us for the duration, and I find that I tend to stay on track if I do it this way. Having everything there ready and prepared stops me from getting hungry which usually leads to an impulse unhealthy food choice (this is also why it is so important to eat every 2.5-3 hours).
Printable copy to take with you
I hope you have enjoyed this blog series! If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to answer them for you.
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