Who said eating healthy had to mean abandoning your social calendar? Definitely not us.
Eating out and eating healthy do not have to be mutually exclusive. The excitement of not having to cook and wash up for a night is reason enough to head out for a meal…so go ahead and make sure you enjoy it! There’s no need to miss out and there are ways to keep your eating out decisions as healthy as possible…if that’s what you fancy.
Be mindful of portion sizes
Have you noticed that more often than not the portion sizes of meals at restaurants are way bigger than anything you would ever serve for yourself at home? It’s totally a thing. But it tastes so good…I have to eat every last bite! Yeah…I feel you, me too. To avoid overeating in these situations, consider ordering the entrée size of your favourite decadent meal – it’s probably all you need and still the size of a regular meal! Winning. Listen to your body, when you feel full, that is for a reason! Try not to overload your stomach and avoid that gross full feeling (nobody wants that).
Choose your restaurant wisely
Actively involve yourself in deciding on the location of your Friday night dinner and drinks. Opting for restaurants that have options with plenty of veggies, some wholegrains and overall have a ‘fresher’ feel, are the go. This means that you won’t feel limited to the garden salad in and amongst greasy burgers and pizzas. If you’re like me, you might even check out the menu beforehand so you feel confident that there is something you will enjoy (without making you feel yucky)!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Not all hope is lost if you’re not loving the items on the menu. Feel free to ask your waiter or waitress for some healthier alterations – it can’t hurt to ask! Ask for sauce on the side so you can ration it to your liking. Maybe you can swap out the fries for some extra roast veggies? It may feel odd at first but that’s what the staff are there for! What’s the worst that can happen?
Beware of menu-red flags
Keep your eyes peeled for words like “fried”, “creamy” or “salty” on your menu item descriptions (avoid avoid avoid). These can indicate high levels of MSG and saturated fats and can feel very heavy on the stomach. Instead look for methods like grilled and steamed – these usually require less-no oil and minimal additives.
Share your sides and dessert
Nobody said anything about missing out on the chocolate larva cake with salted caramel sauce or the dusted salt and pepper squid (because…cmon, you need these in your life). Allow your tastebuds the pleasure without compromising your energy input by sharing these with the table and leaving more room for your actual meal.
Avoid drinking empty calories
Sugary drinks like soft drink and sweet cocktails are a delicious killer. Avoid overindulging in these if you can (but maybe just one?). Next you could consider a glass of red wine, soda water with fresh lime or herbal tea. These are still very tasty and totally a dinner vibe.
The reality is, eating out is a part of a healthy social life and eating regime, and isn’t something to avoid in an attempt to eat well. These tips and tricks are at your disposal, but make sure you still enjoy yourself without any guilt, regardless of how you choose to eat out. The most important part of the experience is making the most of the time with family and friends! And of course, the chocolate larva cake.