Food is amazing! It fuels our entire body, regenerates cells and provides the nutrients we need to live. I’ll be the first to admit, there’s also nothing like eating a delicious burger with sweet potato fries to make you feel all kinds of happiness.
Healthy eating is so important but it is equally important that you enjoy your food (there’s more to life than plain old chicken and broccoli!).
Here are my tips on how to enjoy eating out while maintaining a healthy diet.
- Check the out the menu online
With social media continuing to have a massive influence on today’s society, it’s incredible what you can access online. Look for the restaurant’s menu online. If they don’t have a website you can usually find the menu including reviews and pictures on ‘Zomato’. Also look them up on Facebook and Instagram. One of my favourite past times is scrolling through healthy food porn on Instagram!! You can preselect your food so when it comes to ordering you already know what the best option is and won’t be swayed to share that pizza with your mates.
- Do your research
Healthy eating is “so in right now”- and that’s a great thing! Purposely select a health food restaurant or café to eat at. There are so many incredible vegan and paleo restaurants out there to choose from. This brings me back to my previous tip and the Instagram food porn…. yummmmm!
Take note- Although health food cafes are on the rise, it doesn’t mean your brunch is low cal. That healthy acai bowl is high in carbohydrates, and let’s not forget the #glutenfree granola on top (it probably contains plenty of fat! Hello coconut flakes and nuts). This isn’t to say that you can’t eat out while eating healthy. You just need to keep in mind that the chef’s main goal is to make your food taste amazing not to get you shredded.
- Plan ahead
Make an extra effort during the week to eat clean if you know you’ll be going out for a meal on the weekend. Don’t restrict your food intake during the day and don’t skip a meal just because you’re going out for dinner. This will most likely cause you to overorder and overeat. Your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach! If you are going out for a late dinner, you might want to have a light snack before.
- Focus on protein and vegetables
By planning your meal selection around these, you should be able to find a reasonably healthy meal.
Keep it simple! Choose chicken, fish or beef with steamed veggies or salad (just be wary of dressings!).
- Practice portion control
Use your judgement to approximate serving sizes. i.e. a steak the size of your head is not 1 serving! Eat sensibly. You should feel satisfied and not like a stuffed chicken.
- Ask questions
Don’t be afraid to ask for menu changes. Most cafes are happy to make tweaks to your cooked breaky. A lot of café menus now have a ‘build-your-own’ section. My go-to is poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, spinach, avo and mushrooms. Be assertive and ask how the food was made. Avoid anything fried or described as ‘crispy’ as these foods will be full of fat. Instead opt for grilled, steamed, roasted, baked, poached or BBQed.
- Stick to water
- Eat mindfully
Enjoy your meal and the company of those around you. Chew your food and don’t rush. No one is going to take your meal away from you. Stop eating when you’re satisfied and try not to overeat.
- Sharing is caring
Go halves with a friend when you know the portions are on the larger side. Or better yet, order a healthy main and share a dessert. You’re guaranteed not to overdo it. One of my favourite things to do when trying new cafés with friends is ordering a few meals and sharing everything. Then you get to sample all the foodsss!!
Most importantly ENJOY YOUR MEAL! If you only go out occasionally it’s more than okay to treat yourself. Just be aware of what is in your food and how it was made. (And don’t eat as if it’s your last meal- unless you’re a competitive eater… well if you are then why are you reading this?).