Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy When Eating Out

I love to eat out and I’m not alone, in fact, most people dine out at least once a week. And living in Melbourne, there are so many choices and cuisines to choose from. But eating out can be an all too easy way to pile on the kilos. So here are my top five practical and personal ways you can enjoy eating out without regretting it afterwards:

1. Check the menu before you go out

Jump onto the restaurant’s website and have a look at what they have on offer. This is a handy tip to help you plan your meals and makes you better prepared to choose wisely once you actually eat at the place.

Also there is no harm in asking if you can replace say the chips with a salad instead or ask for the salad dressing on the side. Most places are happy to oblige as they know a happy customer means repeat business for them.

2. Don’t go into a restaurant starving

This can be a big mistake – you walk into a cafe and are about to chew an arm off because you are so hungry. This is where bad decisions happen as you will go straight for whatever is available (see my next point) or choose an item that is not going to do you any favours. Have a small healthy snack so that you can ensure you are not starving and you will make better food choices (this applies when you go grocery shopping too).

3. Go easy on the bread and wine

Many of us engage in this often tasty, but bad, habit – scoffing all the bread. And bread often means butter too – hmmm don’t mind if I do!

Not only will you consume a couple of hundred calories or so but you will have filled yourself up so you don’t enjoy the actual meal as much - or you may eat too much and end up with a bad tummy ache. So try to pass on the bread or just limit it to one piece with no butter.

And slow down with the wine – try and be careful about how much you drink as alcohol is just empty calories and doesn’t add any nutritious value to your meal. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a water instead. Water will help fill up your tummy and minimise the chance of a hangover.

4. Order one meal at a time

I have seen people order almost every dish on the menu or pile so much on their plate it is a miracle they can even carry the plate without a forklift.

So how about using s smaller plate for a buffet or just order one meal at a time. Once you finish, wait 20 minutes at least before ordering anymore to see whether you are really still hungry. Or maybe just share a couple of entrees instead of a main course – you get to try out more dishes that way too.

When you have food left over on the table, there is a temptation to just keep picking at it. So once you are done, why not ask them to put it in a takeaway container for you to enjoy another time (saves money too).

It is always good to spoil yourself now and then and I love to have a dessert once a week. But I will always split one with my partner to keep the calories under control (a treat is just that, something to have now and then).

5. Choose your guests wisely

OK this is a tough one but the fact is it is all too easy to go overboard when you’re dining out with people who order unhealthy and fatty food. People who eat together tend to choose menu items from the same category as others at the table. Therefore, you’re more likely to stick to your goal when you eat with friends who order healthy meals so make a pact with your dinner guests to only order low fat or lean foods so you keep healthy and happy when eating out.

So there you have it - 5 easy tips to helping you stay healthy when eating out! Good luck!!