Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could eat outside without feeling guilty? People eat out for various reasons; Eating out is both fun and sociable or there are times when you come from work and just don’t feel like cooking. But you still gather the courage to walk to the kitchen and make something for yourself since you know how unhealthy outside food is.
When watching your weight or when you’re trying to shed some extra holiday kilos, dining out can seem quite a challenge. According to the several prominent studies, urban Indians dine out at least five times a week. As per research, an outside meal increases your daily calorie intake by approximately 135 calories. Just like several fast-food outlets, dining establishments like restaurants, bars, and fine-dine places can be ticking time bombs when it comes to nutritional health. As you may already know, these meals usually have a very high number of calories compared to home-cooked meals.
With a myriad of options to choose from, a couple of things remain consistent, meals are usually large while being loaded with unhealthy fats and starches while brimming with calories which can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and several other chronic health problems as well.
However, it’s completely okay to indulge occasionally. And it’s possible to do it without wrecking your diet. You will be able to happily order food off any menu while shedding kilograms while maintaining your weight and not depriving yourself. Here are a few smart ways to eat healthy while dining out:
Pick a healthy joint
If the decision is up to you, browse through the restaurant directory and pick the one that dishes out healthy meals. Lately, clean eating has become a trend and as a result, new eateries offering low-calorie food are popping up every day. Moreover, it’s wise to check out the menu and learn a bit of the hotel beforehand so that you’re mentally prepared. Making your food choices well in advance will make it far easier to avoid making rash decisions that you might end up regretting later.
Ask them to customize the dish
A helpful trick that could really help is by asking for meals your way. For instance, if an item includes French fries or mashed potatoes on the side, you could request the waiter to replace it with grilled veggies. Or you could simply ask for a smaller portion of your meat dish and instead opt for a larger portion of the healthy salad.
Ask for Sauces or Dressings on the Side
You could also ask them to bring the sauce in a bowl instead of pre-tossing the meat/veggies in it. Many of the sauces and dressings that we consume while eating out can be precariously loaded with a lot of extra unhealthy fat while containing way more sugar than we’ve bargained.
Avoid All-You-Can-Eat Buffets
Try and avoid these unlimited buffets altogether if you can. We are often poor at judging portion sizes and can end up in overindulgence as a result. Nevertheless, if you absolutely have no other option but to go for a buffet like this, take a quarter plate so that you don’t eat much or take a full sized plate and fill half of it with salad.
Choose Grilled instead of Fried
Most of the times the dish on the menu will have a description stating whether it’s grilled, fried, baked, or even steamed. Opt for the ones which are either grilled, baked or steamed.
Pre-pack half of your order
Studies have revealed that restaurants often serve two to three times more than a standard serving size. Sometimes, the meal portions they serve can be dangerously huge. In case you’re dining alone, you can request the waiter to pack half of the food that you’ve ordered before bringing it to your table. This will ensure that you don’t overeat. However, if you’re dining with someone else, go fifty-fifty with them.
Try double appetizers
The portions of the main course item are typically humongous. Its always a good idea to call for two appetizers instead of one main to keep your calorie intake on the lower side. You’ll be so satisfied from eating 75 percent of your dinner that you’ll barely miss those extra few bites.
Drink Your Water
There’s simply no better beverage for your body than water. A study found that those who were on a diet consumed fewer calories and lost 44% more weight if they drank 500ml of water thirty minutes before their meal. It’s advisable that you drink loads of water before and during a meal.
Order a salad before ordering anything else on the menu
Research coupled with a whole lot of studies have thrown light on the fact that people who have a bowl of soup or eat salads before their mains are successful in consuming a lower number of calories than others. But remember: Salads shouldn’t be fatty and should basically avoid anything in a creamy sauce (pasta salads, coleslaw, and potato salads), and avoid eating the fried noodles and fried noodles.
Being flexible about your diet and food choices is linked with better overall health and weight management. It may not be possible to get a meal outside that’s completely fat-free. But if you start making more conscious, healthier choices when dining out, it’ll help reduce your calorie intake significantly!