Healthy food choices when eating out
According to a well-known quote, ‘failing to plan equals planning to fail’. So how can you use smart planning and smart choices to make eating out weight-loss friendly? Keep reading to discover the importance of planning ahead and smart tips for when you’re there.
Researching restaurants before you leave the house has never been easier. Menus are usually available online and provide a great resource when you’re preparing to have a wonderful night out. “Look for restaurants and cafes with healthier choices before picking a place, and establish your own personal go-to routines for every time you’re eating out,” suggests Dietitian and WW Program Developer, Nicole Stride. “This may include always ordering first so you’re not tempted by what others order, ordering extra steamed vegies or salad on the side and opting for an entrée or dessert rather than both,” she adds. Some cuisines are healthier by nature. You can often stay on track with Asian cuisine. Eating Thai? Skip the creamy coconut milk curries and laksas in favour of aromatic stir-fries, heavy on vegetables, coriander and chilli. Add a portion-controlled one-cup serve of rice. Or go Japanese with mixed sushi, seaweed salad and miso soup, or teriyaki beef and rice with vegetables. When you’re faced with an Italian menu, thin wood-fired pizzas with loads of vegie toppings are a good choice. Or, make it a small marinara seafood pasta and add a garden or rocket salad to the order.
Top tips, for when you're there
We don’t always have control over the choice of restaurant or café when we’re heading out with friends or for a work event. But even if someone has chosen the greasy burger and ribs joint up the road, there are still plenty of options and routines that can work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information about what’s on the menu and to request alterations, just be respectful. Picture yourself engaging calmly and confidently with the service staff when you’re there.
With a bit of planning and research, you can be confident that what you order when you’re eating out is good for your health and your weight management, too. There are plenty of ways to shape your dining experience to suit you and your weight-loss goals, and the restaurant staff can be your best ally to guide you through menu options. Make it known to them, early on, that healthy food choices matter to you, and ask for their opinion of the lightest, or healthiest dishes. Stride suggests keeping these 10 questions up your sleeve – you’ll be surprised at how helpful most people will be.
1. I’m not that hungry. How big are your servings? Can you please show me?
2. Is it possible to have two entrées – and one served as a main?
3. Can dressings and sauces be served on the side?
4. Could I have salad and vegetables, instead of chips and salad?
5. Which vegetable sides best match my dish?
6. Can my fish or steak be grilled without added oil?
7. How are the potatoes cooked? Steamed? Fried? In duck fat?
8. Is the bread unbuttered?
9. Would a fruit platter be available for dessert?
10. Can we split this dessert three ways?