Healthy eating tips for eating out
Considering so many social gatherings are based around food, eating out can be difficult to avoid. Many people will eat at least a few meals out per week. The concern is that these meals are displacing foods in the diet that provide more nutrition and in a healthier form. Additionally, they can very easily contribute to weight gain and the excessive intake of nutrients that need to be eaten in moderation.
The tips below will assist you in making choices that can significantly reduce the calories, fat, sodium and sugar consumed when eating out. Strategies can be as easy as eating a meal slower or ordering an entree as a main (given that many entree dishes are generous in their servings). Save indulging for special occasions/ restaurants and be more conservative with your choices the rest of the time.
√ Water is the best option – tap or sparkling.
√ When choosing soft drink, choose a diet version, e.g. Coke Zero.
√ If you’re in the mood for juice, opt for blends that focus more on vegetables than fruit.
√ Ask for skim milk when drinking smoothies, milkshakes, tea and coffee.
√ Ask for the ice cream and/ or honey to be left out of milkshakes/ smoothies.
√ Tea is also a good option.
√ Plan in advance. Choose places to eat that serve some healthier options as well. If you don’t get a say in the restaurant, look at the menu before you go and work out the healthiest options.
√ Have a snack before going out to eat. This will prevent you from feeling ravenous and eating a large quantity of food that is higher in energy and fat.
√ Limit alcohol. This will not only cut back on the calories but will likely prevent you from consuming more food than you otherwise would – people tend to eat more/ pick unhealthier options when they are drinking alcohol.
√ If complimentary bread is served, you do not have to eat it! If you are planning on eating a main meal, you will not need it anyway.
√ Skip the entree and dessert and focus on enjoying your main meal. Alternatively, share an entree and go for a lighter option, e.g. one that is not fried or covered in sauce.
√ Choose the dishes that come with lots of vegetables, e.g. stir-fries.
√ Keep it simple. Often the more basic meals are the better options, for example, steak with vegetables/ salad or grilled fish with vegetables/ salad.
√ Choose the salad or vegetable option over chips.
√ Order a side salad or vegetables to accompany your main meal. If your main is an energy dense one (pasta, pizza), fill up on the vegetables so you don’t eat as much of the main.
√ Avoid any foods that are fried, battered, in creamy sauces or include the word crispy!
√ Stop eating when you are satisfied. You do not need to consume the huge portion that you have been served.
√ Share desserts between two or more.
√ Do not over-do the side serve of rice.
√ Limit sauces/ dressings and do not scrape it up on to your food.
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have any questions about nutrition related issues, make an appointment with Belinda today. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!