When you are trying to lose weight many people feel as though they can stay ‘in control’ of their eating when they are at home.
At home, you can fill your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and keep the unhealthy stuff out of sight.
The trouble begins when you step out the front door. All of a sudden, temptation lurks around every corner.
And when you are at a restaurant, café, bistro or take away it can be right in front of you in a glass cabinet or on the table next to you.
So what should you do when you are dining out if you are trying to eat healthy food? Follow our advice below and you can enjoy your meal without a side order of calories.
- Make a plan and stick with it
One of the best things that you can do when you are dining out is sneak a peek at the menu before you go. Most restaurants have their menus online, so jump on and have a look.
Decide in advance what you are going to order, or have a couple of options up your sleeve. This way you can make a healthy choice with a clear head when you are a) not hungry and b) not going to be swayed by the choices of your dinner companions.
Go for foods that include lean proteins and a healthy hit of vegetables or salad. Try to avoid creamy dressings, deep fried options, and cream-based sauces which are high in calories and fat.
- Try not to eat your body weight in breadsticks
Just like your mother told you about not going shopping when you are hungry, you should also not go out for dinner when you are ravenous.
Sure, bring a healthy appetite but if you are so hungry that you are trying to flag down a waiter the minute you get in the door, you may end up making some hasty (read: unhealthy) decisions that you might not feel great about later.
Curb your hunger in advance at home with a piece of fruit, a small cup of yoghurt or a handful of nuts. You can also help alleviate hunger pains by having a big glass of water before you head out.
- ‘All you can eat’ doesn’t have to mean that you eat all that you can
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where our willpower is tested. You may not normally choose to attend an all you can eat Chinese buffet, but when it’s great aunt Sally’s birthday she gets to make the call.
If you do find yourself in a restaurant that encourages overeating (buffets and Yum Cha spring to mind) it will take some self restraint to stay on the straight and narrow.
A great way to do this is to choose a small plate and first of all grab some healthy salad or soup to begin with. This will curb your hunger and will most likely stop you overeating later.
After this, choose something with a healthy mix of proteins and vegetables, and top up your plate with more salad or steamed veg if they are on offer. Steer clear of anything deep fried, battered or oily.
- Think outside the plate
It’s not just what’s on your dinner plate that you need to keep an eye on – your drinks and side orders (like garlic bread) can quickly add up in terms of sugars, fats and calories.
If you are having a glass of wine with your dinner, first of all go for some sparkling water with lemon (which will help to quench your thirst). That way when you drink your wine you will be more likely to sip it slowly and really enjoy it.
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