Sometimes when you are trying to lose weight by following a healthy eating plan, life throws up a challenge to test you. This happened to me recently when a good friend visited from out of town and invited everyone to meet for lunch at the local pub.
I groaned inwardly as I thought of the high calorie, deep fried foods that would be on the menu. Self-control is all well and good, but when a plate of chips is sitting in front of me my will power can get a little shaky.
The words ‘forewarned is forearmed’ came to mind. So before the big day I scoured the menu online and decided in advance what I would order, ensuring that it fit in with my weight loss goals. (Lamb and pumpkin salad in case you’re wondering).
So I thought I would share some tips that you can use next time you find yourself in a beer garden, hungry, with a laminated menu in hand:
Things to watch out for:
- Anything deep-fried – so I’m afraid that’s chips, schnitzels, onion rings, deep fried calamari, wedges and crumbed lamb cutlets out. Deep fried foods tend to be high in fat and calories, and often use the ‘bad oils’ that contain trans fats. Not only that, the process of deep-frying can actually rob the food of its nutritional value. You can always pick a chip off someone else’s plate if you get desperate. Just one.
- Large portions – often when food arrives it is overflowing on the plate. Why not consider splitting a meal with a friend, and adding a salad to share with it?
- Sneaky sauces – those tasty gravies and creamy dressings can have hidden calories that can undo the hard work you’ve been putting in. Best to stick with mustard for your steak instead of a creamy peppercorn sauce; or some fresh avocado on your burger instead of sugary tomato sauce.
Try to go for:
- Lean meats – lamb cutlets or steak are good options, so long as the meat is not covered in sugary marinades or drowning in creamy sauces. Pop some salad or veg on the side (hold the chips!) and you’ve got yourself a delicious and nutritious meal
- Salads – especially good are those with some healthy proteins (think chicken, salmon, nuts) and a good smattering of vegetables. Try and avoid unhealthy additions such as deep fried croutons. Choose a healthy vinaigrette for your salad instead of a creamy Cesar style dressing.
- Seafood – fresh prawns, mussels or grilled fish can be a great option if you can manage to keep the chips off your plate. Instead, load up with fresh salads and finish your meal knowing you’ve made a great choice.
What else can I do?
- Ask for no chips on the side – if they’re not on your plate you don’t even have to try and refuse them.
- Consider an entrée size for your main meal. Often you will find this is enough to satisfy your hunger.
- Most pubs won’t mind tailoring your meal to suit your needs – if you ask nicely!
- Watch the alcohol intake, it can quickly add up calorie-wise but can also reduce your ability to make healthy food choices.
- Move your plate away when you are full (to another table if that helps) to avoid picking at any leftovers.
- If you are having a drink, try to have one sparkling mineral water with fresh lime for every alcoholic drink, to keep you hydrated.
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