It’s a lovely feeling to head out with family and/or friends for a meal whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner. However, it’s also easy to over indulge as so many items on the menu can “look soooo good”. Here’s a few tips to help you choose the healthier options when eating out.
- If you really can’t go past the cooked breakfast have poached, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, trim all fat off bacon, wholegrain toast (avoid the fried items).
- Omelette (cooked without cream) on wholegrain toast or untoasted muesli with fruit and yoghurt are both good choices.
- Freshly squeezed juice. Or if you need your morning caffeine fix have it with trim milk (choose regular size rather than a bowl).
- Look for meat that is grilled rather than fried, (remove any fat, and take the skin off chicken – it’s the fattiest part).
- You can’t go wrong with a side of steamed veges or salad, however watch the dressings!
- Select a baked potato rather than fries.
- When having bread ask for grainy, rye or wholemeal.
- Keep in mind they are just that: ‘nibbles’. You don’t want to fill yourself up before a lovely meal.
- Avoid creamy dips, tomato based dips like salsas are a good option; remember it’s called a ‘dip’ not scoop!
- Select rice crackers, bagel crisps, carrot & celery sticks.
- Antipasto platter: select low fat cheeses like feta or edam, hummus, cherry tomatoes, olives, gherkins or caper berries.
- Raw nuts are good but don’t have too many as they still contain fat.
- Avoid filling up on bread.
- Where to start there are so many choices!!
- Say to yourself you can have 2 courses: either an entrée & main or main & dessert, (or maybe two entrées will be enough).
- Opt for pasta dishes with a tomato sauce rather than creamy, cheesy sauces.
- Have it with a salad. Leave the garlic bread.
- Gelato or fresh fruit for dessert.
Thai & Indian –
- Avoid deep fried entrées like samosas, bhajis, curry puffs, spring rolls, and fish cakes.
- Watch portion sizes, avoid covering your plate in rice!
- Thai curries in coconut milk are high in saturated fat (bad fat), if you can’t resist them, lift your meat & veges out of the sauce (you’ll still get the flavours but leave some of the fat behind).
- Indian curries with a tomato base or yoghurt sauce are best.
- Light and delicate flavours with lots of fresh herbs and spices. Hard to go wrong here.
- Similar to above, avoid deep fried items and watch the portions of rice.
- Dishes described as braised or barbecued are good choices. Avoid sweet & sour, lemon sauce and deep fried items.
- Don’t add salt, generally there is more than enough with the soy sauce and msg.
- Opt for stir-fries with lots of fresh seasonal vegetables and some meat.
Middle Eastern –
- Lots to choose from here, especially for vegetarians.
- Hummus, tabbouli, falafel, kebabs, spanakopita (spinach & feta pie).
- Watch out for creamy dressings, select yoghurt based instead.
- If you can’t resist the baklava (pastry with honey syrup and nuts) only have a small slice.
Buffets & Smorgasbords –
- It is extremely easy to over eat at these places. Some people feel they just have to get their moneys worth! However there is just no need to go back 2, 3 or 4 times ‘just try a little something else’ .
- Have a good look at what is being offered first, then select foods that you may not usually have at home, providing they are not deep fried or covered in fatty sauces or dressings!
- It’s better to have more of a few foods than a little of everything that is being offered.
- Watch portion sizes vigilantly and avoid piling your plate high!
Key tips to remember:
- Watch portion sizes: don’t feel you have to finish everything on your plate, as portions can be oversized.
- Avoid pastry, heavy sauces, cheese toppings and adding extra salt.
- Ask the waiter/waitress about menu and don’t be embarrassed to request an item to be grilled instead of fried or maybe a smaller portion(ask for entree size main).
- Keep track of how much alcohol you are drinking. Sip it slowly. And order water as well.
- Eat slowly and mindfully and enjoy!