Restaurants and healthy eating – how do you stick to a healthy eating plan while enjoying a night out in one of your favourite restaurants with friends? One of my favourite things to do is eating in restaurants so below I list 6 tips to keep you on track and keep you not deviating from a healthy meal plan while enjoying yourself on a night out.
Restaurants and healthy eating – choose carefully.
This is a very simple rule that I always implement. The first choice for me has to be around the macro nutrient that I base all my meals on….. Protein! This means that whether it is with my family or my friends or a work lunch I always will choose a restaurant that specialises in protein dishes like fish restaurants or a meat/steak restaurant. You always need to base every meal around protein (think blood sugar levels and the impact of glucose) once you start thinking like this decisions will be very easy for you to make. For example, one will never find me in an Italian restaurant as the carbohydrate options are too frequent and too tempting. I may go in with good intentions but once I sit down and see pasta and pizza on the menu it becomes much harder to order that piece of seabass!!
It’s either a starter or dessert. Not both!
Because of the frequency of the meals I eat out I look at the meal as if I’m eating at home. And I wouldn’t do a 3 course meal at home on a Wednesday night so why do it in this restaurant? Yes special occasions like birthday and anniversaries are different but if you’re going out for the sake of going out then get into the habit of 1 course and maybe sharing a starter. Having the trifecta of starter, main and dessert should not be an option.
Don’t touch the bread
Often when you arrive at the restaurant the waiter will give the table a basket of bread. This isn’t an option for you to touch. Give it straight back to the waiter and say thank you very much! It may take at times 30minutes until your food arrives. If you go into a restaurant hungry I guarantee the bread basket will be empty by the time your meal arrives. Think of your waist line and take it off the table.
Always ask for sauces and dressings on the side
Everyone loves a nice rich sauce to go with their rump steak. However it is these calorie dense sauces that do the damage. Be careful of the dressings and sauces! They are packed full of sugar, and butter. Ask for it on the side, that way you can make an informed decision whether to completely leave or maybe just dunk a piece of chicken into it. Either way it’s going to be much harder to control the calories if your chicken caesar salad has the dressing all over it!
Don’t order a bottle of wine
This comes down to portion control and calories. If it is a special occasion then by all means go for a nice red but order by the glass. Yes it doesn’t work out as economical but it will stop you drinking 3 glasses like we always do when we need to walk out of that restaurant with an empty bottle on the table! (Nobody likes waste!)
Order Coffee for dessert
This is a trick I always do. I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth so desserts don’t excite me like some people. I do however, like to give my body a bit of a metabolism boost and will always order a double espresso. I know in the evenings this won’t work for everyone, especially if you have a sensitivity to caffeine. You may find yourself looking at your bedroom ceiling at 2am!! If this is you then go for herbal tea!
These 6 tips work really well for me and still allow me to keep a social life and enjoy restaurants and healthy eating with friends and family! Next time you go to a restaurant think about these tips and order sensibly.