You're all organised, meals all planned and prepared for the week and we are all set on our fitness journey. Then suddenly, you’re invited out to dinner, what do you do, how do you make a healthy choice?
1.Choose a healthy restaurant
One of the biggest predictors of how healthy the food you will receive when eating out, is based purely on the place you go. When choosing a healthy options, a rule of thumb is to steer clear of any fast food joints. Even though these places may have healthy options available, they do heighten the temptation to choose unhealthy foods. Go for restaurants that focus on using fresh ingredients.
2. Change the way you order your food
If it doesn’t specifically state on the menu, ask the waiter to confirm how the meal is it cooked. Steamed or grilled foods are more preferential choices, whilst fried, battered, crumbed and deep fried foods are often higher in salt and fat and are not as healthy.
3. Choose your proteins wisely
If you are vegetarian or vegan, choose protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, lentils and beans.
If you do consume meat, choose lean cuts of meats such as chicken or fish.
4. Order a side of salad or veggies
Order this in addition to, or to swap out the chips, wedges or other unhealthy sides. Eat the vegetable portion of the dish first so that you are filling up on the healthy foods first.
5. Be careful of the dressings
Avoid creamy and oily dressings, go for tomato or vinegar based dressings
Dressing can often be very high in calories whilst providing little nutrients. Focus on low fat dressings full of flavour.
6. Portion Control
Control the portion of dressings, sauces and gravies that you eat by asking for it to be provided on the side. This will allow you to dictate how much dressing you will eat and encourage you to make a healthy choice.
7. Avoid up sizing
This can lead to over consumption of excess calories that our body doesn’t really need.
8. Watch for combo deals with added fries, chips and soft drink
These deals may appear better in value for money, but are not a value to your health. They cause you to eat more than you need to and are often calorie-dense and nutrient poor.
9. Be careful of buffet or all-you-can-eat style dining.
Having such a wide availability of food can encourage you to over-eat and increase your portion sizes. If you are in these restaurants focus on having ½ the plate vegetables, ¼ of the plate lean protein and ¼ wholegrain.
10. Eat mindfully
Chew slowly and focus on every mouthful. Foods are often the tastiest when we first eat them. When you are no longer enjoying the flavour of the food and are just eating because it is there, it is time to stop. Focuses on your stomach cues, how full are you? Rate your fullness on a scale of 1-10, we should aim to stop eating when we are around a level of 6-7.