Eating out when counting calories can be a grenade thrown into your well-conceived healthy eating plan. There are ways of negotiating the minefield without jeopardising all your hard work.
The first thing to remember is to not forget all the rules you have been practising since you started your calorie counting diet. The same principles apply wherever you are having a meal. Restaurants and eateries have also become very consumer-savvy and many are aware that potential customers may not be satisfied by what the chef wants them to eat. Many places now offer low fat or calorie counted meals as a standard offering on their menus. If you are going to a dinner party and you know your host, there’s no reason why you can’t let them know you are following a diet plan. So much better that they know rather than be offended by your refusal to eat what they have prepared. A good host and friend will no doubt cater to your needs.
If you follow these tips for healthy eating at restaurants and you'll still be able to have a great night out.
1. Watch the Alcohol
Alcohol has the potential to upset any dietary regime. At about 200 calories per average measure, it’s a huge inroad into your calorie allowance. If you want a drink the avoid spirits but if you must have one, make it long with plenty of low calorie mixer. Make it last. If you have wine, drink it as a spritzer. Sip your alcoholic tipple alongside plenty of nice cold water. Alcohol can also stimulate your appetite so drink with your meal rather than before it.
2. Don’t Go out Feeling Overly Hungry
If having a drink of water doesn’t abate your hunger pangs have a small healthy snack with slow release energy before you leave.
3. Carefully Read the Menu
Check the menu for items that cater for your needs or have a word with your waiter. In a good restaurant the service staff will have a good knowledge of the dishes or will be willing to ask the chef for a recommendation.
4. Have a Starter for Your Main Course
You can always combine a couple of the healthier starters, for example have an additional side salad.
5. Watch the Calories in Side Dishes
Be sensible in your choice of side dishes or accompaniments ; have baked potato instead of fries, if you are offered a selection of vegetables and potatoes, choose more vegetables and leave the potatoes to others at your table. If you have a choice, then ask for vegetables to be steamed.
6. Plan Your Meal Carefully
If you have a main meal heavy on the calories, in order to keep in with the ethos of your weight loss ideals, you should choose a very light dessert or go without. If desserts are your passion, then by all means have the death by chocolate but counterbalance it with a light starter and main. If you can do it without causing upset, just have 2 courses.
7. Check out the Vegetarian Options
Often these are very tasty and are a healthier alternative to the main menu.
8. Avoid All Those Things You Are Already Abstaining from on a Daily Basis
This means heavy sauces, cream, rich gravies, items that are battered or covered in breadcrumbs, anything fried, gratins and so on. It’s okay to have a small bread roll when offered but don’t butter it and if there’s a cheese board by all means sample a few chunks but ignore the crackers and go for the celery and grapes instead.
Above all enjoy yourself and if you over indulge, just remember you’ll have to work harder at your diet plan tomorrow.