Eating out can sometimes be challenging whilst being committed to a healthy lifestyle. Some people, however, take the healthy eating habit one bridge too far and adopt an all consuming approach to nourishing themselves. I am sure many people are familiar with the stereotype: they comment extensively on what you have chosen to eat, change the subject to eating healthily at every opportunity and are not the easiest types to cater for when hosting a dinner party…
In my opinion, a healthy lifestyle should not mean it’s all encompassing and it definitely shouldn’t lead to a decreasing amount of dinner invitations! Living healthily still means you can go out, go on holidays or enjoy dinners with friends or family, at home or in restaurants. Choosing to be healthy means making smart, informed choices while going about everyday life. I believe in moderation and balance and enjoying meals out with my family and friends is a something I truly love. Here´s how you can make smart choices when eating out without going over the top either way.
WHAT TO ORDER WHEN EATING OUT
It is always good to be prepared and in charge of your own choices. Therefore, if possible, check the menu at home before you leave for the restaurant and decide what you would like to eat. In that way, you are more likely to stick to your food choices once orders are being taken.
Watch the portion sizes to prevent overeating. Portions at restaurants are often huge. Think about the portion you would eat at home and stick to the same quantity in the restaurant. You can even get your waiter to pack the remainder up for you. Or, if there is a good selection, order two starters instead of a starter and a main course.
Be assertive and tell the waiter what you would like to make your dish perfect. Most restaurants will be happy to oblige if you ask for your dressing on the side, grilled fish instead of fried, vegetables instead of fries, salad instead of potatoes etc.
While waiting for starters to arrive, many restaurants serve a bread basket to tide customers over. Leave the bread alone though! You wouldn’t eat this at home and it is really not that tasty whilst providing empty calories.
For mains, order fish or lean meat and for starters consider a salad. If you are out for lunch consider ordering some eggs. See below: poached eggs on coriander aoli with a slice of rye bread. Yum, healthy and filling.
Ask the waiter to provide double the portion of vegetables on the plate. In that way, you will surpass the purely decorative vegetables that seem a staple of going out these days with a portion that is actually edible and enjoyable.
First and most importantly: continue to drink water before and during the meal. Staying hydrated helps you focus and stay in touch with how full you are.
If you are having drinks, best choose a wine to drink and accompany it with water (about one to two glasses of water to every glass of wine).
Lastly, don’t start on the cocktails and mix drinks. These wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and interfere with your body’s hunger signals as well as packing crazy amounts of sugars and calories. Rather stick with the water and wine.
A lot of restaurants these days cater for more health conscious eaters so it shouldn’t be too challenging to get a healthy plateful. And alternatively, simply just call a cheat meal and go for it. Order that juicy steak, the pasta or the fried calamari. And enjoy it! After all, it is all about balance and your cheat meal is sure to fuel up an excellent cardio session the next day.