Staying on Track While Eating Out
We have all been in that situation where we have been invited to a staff lunch, birthday or an event that requires eating out. Whether following a strict diet, having a goal you want to reach in mind or just simply being more cautious and watching what you are eating… this could be a very scary invitation. We want you to know, eating out does not have to be a daunting experience or where you must consume unwanted calories.
Obviously you feel more relaxed eating your own home cooked meals. You know exactly what ingredients it contains, exact measurements, macronutrients and calories. However, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance… Enjoy life, rather than endure it, be flexible! It is perfectly fine and okay to eat out. As long as you know the right and smart choices to make, you can stay on track.
Clean Eating while Eating Out
The following are some suggestions and tips, which should and hopefully will make your what may be a confronting dining experience out a more pleasurable and comforting one.
Remember your ‘ideal plate’ or ‘balanced meal’. We all know the general rule or portion size recommendation: ½ plate of vegetables (keep in potatoes are a starchy vegetable, classify it a as carb not a vegetable), ¼ plate carb source and protein - the size of your hand. To make your meal more filling add some healthy roughage. While eating out, you may decide to order an extra side of vegetable to your meal or start with a salad for entrée.
Don’t be shy to ask the waiter or chef for advice, splitting meals or insist for dietary requirements. They should not mind at all. Remember you are dining and spending money on them, so they should be more than happy to answer any questions, requests, be accomadative and provide you with the best costumer service they possibly can. Like we say when selling our products, if a supplier is happy and confident enough with their ingredients they will not be hesitant in telling the insights. You may even decide to share a meal with a friend to save calories, costs and ensure it is a decent serving size as much restaurants over serve.
Dressings & Sauces
Choose the dressing and sauce carefully. The number one mistake people make, is to order a light, healthy, low calorie meal, then smother it in creamy sauces and dressings. Where in actual fact, it would have been better off ordering a burger for that amount of calories! Some examples include, cream-cheese sauces e.g. blue, ceaser or ranch dressing, cream or coconut based soups, curries, pastas and risottos. When eating out it is often known that chefs over power and over do the sauces.. so a wise option would be to ask for it on the side and pour on yourself. Use only what you need (recommended to use about 1tbp). A healthier alternative to the sauces above would be choosing from a tomato base or vegetable broth option.
Don’t be to set on cleaning your plate… keep reminding yourself portion size. Most restaurants will let you take left overs home. Just ensure correct refrigeration and food handling is implemented. Just remember everyone in the restaurant is receiving the same meal in the same sizing. What a 5’4 female is eating, so is a 6ft male… someone is receiving a very wrong recommended portion size.
Healthy Words & Language
Study the menu’s language. Search for ‘healthy words.’ You want to avoid words such as doughy, fried, creamy, breaded, crispy, cheesy etc. Invite words such as steamed, grilled, roasted, broiled, boiled, poached, “lightly” sauteed, pan-seared, and blackened. By this, food will contain and be less buttered, oiled or cream infused. If you are the type of person who cant skip dessert or not have a special dish when out… Choose your special item, either share it, or once again take home half the serving.
Drinks have calories
People have the misconception drinks are not calorie dense ‘what you drink just goes straight through you right?’ – incorrect. Every glass adds up… juice, alcohol, coffee. The best thing you can do is keep it simple and stick to water. Or, if you must, for juice.. keep in mind this is very sugar dense.. you may want to lead to a greener juice, if having coffee, have light milk instead of full cream, or if choosing alcohol, consider straight drinks.. avoid mixers.
Enjoy eating out and know your healthy options rather than dread and endure it. Just remember one bad meal isn’t going to make you fat, like one healthy meal will not make you skinny.
For further piece of mind, you may like to know there are apps available that could help you monitor your calorie intake, macros or see if a meal fits yours macros (IIFYM) e.g. ‘Myfitnesspal’. Another useful tip is to plan ahead – ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. You could either Google or use the available app ‘Zomato’ to pre read the menu of the restaurant in advance. This way you could plan your meals for the day around your eating out or estimate your calorie intake. It also saves the extra stress of deciding there and then at the restaurant… you will know exactly what you need on arrival.