Just because you are trying to eat healthier or trying to lose a few pounds doesn’t mean that you should have to pass up the opportunity to eat out, you just need to try to make smart choices.
Here are 10 tips to help you make smarter menu choices next time you are eating out without having to compromise on taste.
1) Look up the menu online before going, this allows me to plan ahead and hopefully means that I won’t give into my hungry tummy on the spot. If you track your macros this step is extremely important. It allows you to plan the rest of your meals for the day, ensuring you hit all of your nutrient goals.
2) Drink water, Diet sodas can be useful, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me. Try to avoid alcohol. At a hefty 7 kcal per gram, it can quickly put you in a caloric surplus for that day.
3) Avoid the bread basket, once you start you will never stop. It can also lead to you racking a huge amount of unnecessary calories before you even start the meal.
4) Salads are a great option, but for me, I don’t always choose salads if I am out for dinner as I find salads don’t always fill me up very much as I am used to at home having a big dinner and a smaller lunch. So, I tend to snack when I get home as a result. Everyone is different, you just need to find out what works best for you.
Tip 1: Sometimes I ask for salads with extra meat so they are a bit more filling, also helpful for hitting your protein goal.
Tip 2: Just beware of the dressing, most salad dressings are more calorific and higher in fat than people think. I usually use balsamic vinegar or vinaigrette at home and that usually is not too high in both calories and fat.
5) Choose a high protein dish, Not only is protein extremely important for maintaining/gaining muscle mass, it is the nutrient that a lot of people struggle to hit their goal for on a day to day basis. Where possible I usually try to get a dish that one of the main ingredients is a meat. Most of the time the meat (protein & fat) comes with a carbohydrate (e.g. Potato – ideally not chips) and some veg. As you can see that meal will give you a good balance between the three macro nutrients. As opposed to a pizza that will only really give you Carbohydrates and fat.
6) Modify your dish – Don’t be afraid to ask for your meal with or without certain ingredients.
E.g. 1) Removing the cheese in a sandwich to cut back on fat.
E.g. 2) Ask for plain chicken rather than breaded chicken.
7) Choose a smart side: Use your side dish to ensure you get your 5-a-day in. Almost always, a salad is the best option, Steamed veg is great too. Again, just be careful with the calorific dressings.
Tip: The more naturally colourful your plate is the better.
8) Sauce on the side – Sauces are usually quite high in calories due to their high fat content. I usually ask for them on the side so I can control how much I have.
9) Don’t have all three courses, if everyone is having three, compromise and only get two.
10) Get tea or coffee instead of dessert, this will distract you while everyone is digging into their desserts.
Although these tips will hopefully help you stay on the straight and narrow whilst eating out, if you are serious about achieving your fitness and weight loss goals you should really keep eating out to a minimum. Having said that, having a social life is so important and it is all about trying to find a balance. If you enjoyed this post you may also be interested in 6 Healthy Habits to aid Weight Loss, 5 Ways to Make Getting Fit Easier and How to Stay Healthy Whilst Traveling.
I hope these tips have been able to help you guys, see you in the next post
The Girl on the Go xx