I love eating out at restaurants, in fact it is probably one of my favourite hobbies. I just love good food. But how do I manage to stay on track whilst enjoying myself? This is where flexible dieting and a little bit of forward thinking comes into effect.
I am going to start a new mini-series where I will be looking at some popular restaurant and eating out choices and trying to give you what I feel are the best meal options to keep you on track with your fitness goals, yet still able to eat out and not feel like you are missing out.
To start off with I am just going to list 10 tips which to help guide you along the way!!
Whilst on a fat loss journey, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice going out for fear of straying from your diet or ‘wasting all the effort which you have been putting in. With a few simple tips and a little bit of planning ahead you can still go out and enjoy yourself with family and friends
1)Be the one who picks the restaurant
By taking charge of where you are going, you are able to choose a restaurant where you know there will be healthier options available to you.
2) Look at the menu beforehand
If I know what restaurant I am going to, I always try and look up the menu online in advance. By doing this I can see what options are available and plan what I am going to have before arriving. This way I am not faced with an endless list of options and rushing into a decision which I might regret. It also lowers the chances of me being tempted into something which somebody else is having.
3) Try and stick to simple dishes
The simpler the dish the easier it will be to track and know what has gone into preparing it. I always aim for a dish containing a lot of protein as I know it will satisfy me, and always plenty of vegetables on the side if possible.
4) Ask for any dressings or sauces to be served on the side
This isn’t being awkward; trust me, restaurants will have dealt with a lot worse in terms of strange requests. Dressings and sauces can add 100s of calories to your meal. By asking for them on the side you are able to control how much you are putting on. A simple chicken salad which you think is the better option, can all of a sudden become one of the worst if it is soaked in oily or creamy dressings.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for something different
We are way too polite in this country, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; but it does mean that sometimes we are too nervy about asking for something which isn’t listed. I learnt this in America, where it is actually rare to order something direct from the menu! If I cant see anything which takes my fancy, I will ask if they can accommodate me. By switching out items or cooking something in a different way, i.e. steaming the vegetables instead of frying. Again, this isn’t being awkward, restaurants should be going out of their way to make the dining experience the best for you.
6) Don’t go to the restaurant starving
If your tummy is in danger of eating itself, chances are you will want to eat everything in sight. Don’t stuff yourself before going, but make sure that you have had a little something to tide you over.
7) Be mindful of alcohol consumption
I am not saying to avoid having a glass of wine altogether, but maybe just have one and replace the rest of your beverages with water or diet drinks.
8) Eat until you are full
Some restaurant portions tend to be a lot bigger than what you would usually have at home, and the temptation is to finish it all. You’re paying for it so best not waste it. Here is where portion control also comes into play. Enjoy your meal and savour it, but don’t eat until you are stuffed and cant move. Eat until you are satisfied and the experience will be a lot more enjoyable.
9) Plan ahead
If you know you want a dessert and that chocolate fondant with ice cream is calling out your name; maybe try and avoid having carbs with your main meal, or avoid having a starter. Rather than going all in on everything, practise a little bit of moderation and still enjoy that tempting treat. (I have to do this a lot, my sweet tooth just cant handle going without a pudding!!)
10) Don’t overthink or stress out about it
It is one meal. One meal will not make you fat. Compensate during the day by eating a lighter lunch or breakfast, and don’t feel guilty about ordering whatever you want. Big social engagements like birthdays or weddings don’t come around all that often, so don’t deprive yourself of having a good time. Life is for living.
If there are any of your favourite restaurants which you would like me look at the menu for, or a certain type of cuisine where you don’t know what the best option is, then send me a message or comment below! I will be more than happy to try and help out!
Until next time….
Love Abi xxxx