We all know that eating out can be a ticking time bomb when it comes to sticking to healthy food plan. Surveys find that the food you typically eat when you’re not at home is nutritionally worse in every way than the foods you cook and consume yourself.
However sticking to a healthy food plan doesn’t mean you have to avoid dining out altogether. Here are 11 tips to stay on track when dining out:
- Have it your way. Be assertive when asking for changes on the menu for example if an item is fried ask for it to be grilled, or if a meal come with a side of chips ask for veggies or salad instead. These questions are asked more often than you think and most times the restaurant will cooperate without any hesitation.
- Double the vegetables. Quite often a side of vegetables in a restaurant is more like small garnish—a carrot and a slice of cucumber. When you’re ordering, ask for two or three times the normal serving of veggies, and offer to pay extra. (Sometimes they won’t even charge you!)
- Half the size. Ask to have your main course halved and boxed before it gets to the table, or split a main course with your dining partner. Surveys have found that restaurants often serve two to three times more than a standard serving.
- Choose double appetisers. If you like the look of the selection of starters in a restaurant, course and opt for getting two as a main course instead of an entree. Try chose a seafood or grilled meat – and a vegetable-based appetiser. Often, that is more than enough food to fill you up.
- Do the fork dip. Possibly the best tip to combine the dressing with a salad. Ask for your dressing on the side, in a small bowl. Dip your empty fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad. You’ll be surprised at how this tastes almost the same, and how little dressing you’ll end up using, which of course results in a lot of calories saved.
- Plan ahead. Check the menu before you leave home. We are always telling clients to do this! Most restaurants have their menus available on their Web sites, have a look and decide what option would be best for you before you get there. You can then ask for no menu when you get to the restaurant, this will help avoid temptation when looking at the menu last minute.
- Say no to the bread basket. Ask the waiter for no bread basket on your table. Or if someone at your table would like it there ask for to, ask for a plate of raw vegetables or some breadsticks for yourself instead.
- Skip the fancy drinks. If you decide you want an alcoholic drink, try not to choose from the cocktail list – these drinks are full of sugar and calories, even one can sabotage what could have been a healthy meal. Instead, opt for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and diet tonic.
- Choose a seafood option. When possible choose a seafood dish, white fish preferably- the healthiest option out of the meat a seafood section. Just make sure it’s not fried and you ask for any sauces on the side.
- Sip on water throughout the meal. This will slow down how fast you are eating and allow you to enjoy the food more and help get the message get to your brain in time that you’re full (before your plate is empty)
- Skip the dessert…do we need to tell you why?!!