It’s an age old quandary….how can we be healthy and still dine out? Well the good news is YOU CAN! It’s all in the CHOICES you make. I know for many folk, eating out for corporate lunches and dinners can all be part of ‘the job’, but eating out doesn’t have to lead to the expansion of the waist line. Even the most hardened fine diner will struggle to argue it’s difficult to stay trim and eat out, if they stick to these simple rules. So follow my tips and you won’t go wrong!
- Choose your restaurant wisely – Avoid the obvious like the fast food diner, that’s just a no brainer. Go for restaurants or cafes that prepare food from scratch, using fresh wholefood ingredients – those in their ‘natural’ state, vs being processed.
- Avoid arriving to a restaurant ravenously hungry – Now I know this might sound like an oxymoron – go out for a meal and avoid arriving hungry, what the?? I’m simply suggesting you try and nibble on some healthy snacks before you go out to dine, that way you will be less likely to over eat or crave unhealthy foods .
- Arrive hydrated – Many of us mistake thirst for hunger, so be sure to get your water quota in before your meal, but AVOID DRINKING WATER 20 MINUTES EITHER SIDE OF EATING. Drinking water with meals will dilute your stomach acids, making it difficult to digest your food. If you feel like having a drink before your meal, order it well in advance of eating and choose something like a soda and bitters with fresh lemon or lime. The bitters will help to stimulate your stomach acids for good digestion.
- Say “NO” to the bread and chips – Most of us fall into the trap of nibbling on the complementary bread or chips commonly served before a meal. Not only is the gluten in the bread a problem, (you can read more about why here), but bread and potatoes can be very fattening because of the high starchy carbohydrate content, not to mention the unhealthy vegetable oil often used to fry the chips. Look at chips or bread as “a minute on the lips, but a life time on the hips!” If you feel like nibbling while you wait for your meal, go for fresh olives instead.
- Order a side (or two) of fresh steamed Green’s – Green vegetables are a rich source of fibre, leaving you feeling fuller, for longer.
- Avoid starchy carb based meals – such as pasta, pizza, or risottos – the high starch carbohydrate content will create a surplus of energy that the body will store as fat, unless you plan on jogging home afterwards!
- Avoid Alcohol – or at least limit it to one glass with no added sugar as alcohol is a sure fire way to pack on the pounds. Now it is true that wine, red wine in particular, actually aids digestion because of its natural acidity, however because alcohol is technically toxic to the body, the liver will always prioritise processing alcohol for elimination, over food. So if you eat and drink a lot in the same sitting, your food is more likely to under go incomplete digestion and accumulate within your intestine, leaving you feeling bloated and perhaps even a little gassssy!
- Order two entrées – Now it’s true there is no fun in dining alone, so if everyone else is ordering an entrée and a main, I recommend going for two entrée’s and choose the healthiest options!
- Order like cave man from the menu. By this I mean stick to clean and lean sources animal protein and green veg…such as lean cuts of red or white meat, even better, go for fish as it’s easier to digest. If you do eat meat, look for grass fed beef over grain fed, organic chicken and wild fish over farmed – which salmon and Barramundi tend to be now days. Of course if eating out is not something you do often, then non-organic sources of animal protein are a better choice than starchy carbohydrates.
- Skip the desert – sugar will always be your undoing if your trying to keep the weight off, so either skip it or have a nibble on a shared cheese platter, stick to the goat and sheep cheese varieties over cow (without the crackers), or order some low sugar fresh berries if they happen to be on the menu.
Do you have any tips you stick to when eating out to help keep the waistline in tact? Why not share them in the comments section below.