Healthy Eating in Restaurants

Eat healthy when eating out

We love eating in restaurants. Unfortunately, eating out is linked with poorer food choices and overeating, and our social and time-poor clients often ask us how they can continue eating out while making healthy choices. Here are the 11 most important tips we give them, to help them to continue eating out.  

1. Read the Menu in Advance

Sticking to an eating plan is much easier if you plan and decide ahead. We are more likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices when hungry (1) and distracted (2). Most menus are now available online.

2. Eat a snack 30 minutes Before Dinner

Contrary to what your mother told you, filling up with a healthy snack of soup, a smoothie, a piece of fruit, or plain yogurt before dinner can help you to eat less (3). If you are hungry when arriving at a restaurant, you are more likely to eat the bread and make unhealthy food choices.

3. Drink water 15 minutes before and with your meal

Water is the ideal replacement for sugary drinks and juices because it reduces the intake of calories and added sugars (4, 5, 6). In one study, participants on a diet who drank 500 ml of water 30 minutes prior to a meal ate fewer calories and lost 44% more weight than those who did not.

4. Focus on Lean Protein

Protein-rich meals keep you fuller for longer and are less likely to make you gain weight. Ideally, choose a grilled or baked protein dish that is served with vegetables.

5. Ask for the dressing and sauce on the side.

Sauces and dressings are often very high in fat and calories, and it is easy to overeat them. Request the sauce on the side, and skip it, or only eat a small portion.

6. Order Extra Vegetables

If you are full after dinner, you are less likely to order a high-fat, high sugar dessert, or eat a smaller portion.

7. Eat Slowly and Mindfully

If you eat slowly and mindfully, you are less likely to overeat. Someone once advised me to  ‘leave some space for your brain’ when eating.

8. Avoid Sugary Drinks

If you drink alcohol, drinking vodka and tonic instead of sugary drinks and beer will help to keep your calorie intake down.

9. Make Healthy Swaps

Swap refined carbohydrates (fries, pasta, bread) and potatoes for salad or over-ground vegetables.

10. Choose tomato-based sauces over cream-based sauces

Tomato-based sources add healthy fibre and nutrients and reduce the calorie and fat content of your meal.

11. Skip the Soda

Drink sparkling water instead.

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