How to Stay Healthy When Eating Out (and Not Just Ask for a Salad)


If we are dining out, we don’t want to completely alienate ourselves with a sorry looking salad, but it’s also important that we don’t go overboard. You can still enjoy food at a restaurant even when making a few conscious decisions as it’s all about finding a middle ground. Let’s face it, eating out is very rarely a light experience but making small changes can still be beneficial for your body.

Starters in restaurants can be quite heavy and even a small bowl of soup can be a bad move as they usually contain a lot of butter or cream. So, instead of going for a rich starter, you could have a salad from the sides menu, or if your willpower is strong enough, simply skip this stage all together!

If there is one piece of advice you should heed today, it should be to stay clear of the korma. There is nothing worse than a curry house korma as it lures you in with a familiar, sweet and friendly flavour, then before you know it, your love handles have quadrupled in size. Avoid the cream and ghee and opt for a tomato based dish and plain boiled rice instead of butter smeared pilau. Extras like naan bread are also unnecessary – potatoes and rice are enough, don’t force your body into carb overload.

When it comes to Italian food it’s wise to avoid anything with the word “carbonara” on the menu due to the pure fat content of those dishes. Again, it’s best to opt for tomato based dishes when it comes to pasta. Instead of feasting on a heavy thick crust pizza, try the lighter stone baked version which is usually much tastier but without the dangerous calorie intake. Also avoid fatty, greasy meats such as pepperoni and ham – the cheese alone is enough for your system to deal with!

If you’re going out for the evening, then there is no point totally avoiding dessert, sometimes the sweet tooth just has to be satisfied. There are ways to reduce clogging those arteries however, for example you can always share a dessert or opt for fruit and sorbet as a low-fat option. Sometimes even a coffee can satisfy sweet cravings and hot drinks also expand the intestinal tract, meaning you may even feel too full for dessert after.

When we plan to dine out, drinking is also part of the culinary experience. This could be in the form of alcohol or soft drinks, however always make sure you have water at the table, which is the best thing to quench your thirst. Don’t gulp back bottles of full fat fizzy drinks and staying away from too many glasses of wine is also wise. Try and stick to 175ml instead of 250ml, but that doesn’t mean you should drink more glasses as that would simply defeat the purpose.

It’s quite easy to adjust your food and drink order to limit your fat intake but remember you should not be afraid to ask a member of staff for some advice in terms of alterations to a dish and other options available. Every restaurant will be different so be inquisitive; these answers will help you make an easier, healthier and more informed decision.

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