Staying Healthy While Eating Out
Wednesday 3 April, 2019
Eating out is an easy option when we’re short on time, celebrating with friends and family or when you’re travelling, and has the bonus of no clean up! However, there are a lot of choices out there and it can be hard to determine what the best option is.
Eating out can sometimes interfere with your health-related goals and my clients often ask me what the best options are so they can still enjoy themselves but are not going backwards with their goals. That isn’t to say you have to make the healthiest choice every time you eat out but if it is part of your lifestyle and you are trying to eat healthier, this article will provide you with some good tips, allowing you to eat out and achieve your health goals.
The first tip with eating out is to do your research if you know where you’re going and get a copy of the menu, with most restaurants having theirs online. This gives you the time to decide what the best option may be without the pressure of being at the restaurant with the waiter standing over you or everyone else on the table waiting for you to dissect the menu and order.
There are few general tips which can be applied to any cuisine which include avoiding high fat meals as this can add a large number of kilojoules without actually filling you up. High fat meals include anything deep fried, cream, oil or cheese-based sauces and dressings, processed meats including salami and sausages. If there is an option for sides, load up on garden salad, steamed or baked vegetables rather than bread, chips, rice, coleslaw or potato salad.
I have listed some common cuisines below and what to look for and what to avoid for each to make eating out a little easier.
Italian is a very common choice for eating out, with the fresh pasta and wood oven pizzas, yum!
Pasta: go for a tomato-based sauce with lots of added vegetables with or without a lean meat or seafood with a small sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top.
Pizza: choose a thin and crispy base rather than a thick heavy base, again, make sure there are plenty of veggies and avoid the processed meats that can come on a pizza including salami or bacon.
Thai food can often be a lot of small plates shared between the table, this is great for trying different foods but can be tricky to keep track of portion sizes compared to having one plate of food. If you are sharing, try and put a little bit of each dish on your plate and then eat rather than continually picking from the middle.
For the types of dishes, avoid the deep-fried entrées like spring rolls, go for something fresh like a Thai beef salad or a steamed entrée. For a main meal look for a stir-fry with noodles and lots of vegetables.
Indian curries pack a bunch of flavor and are a tasty option for eating out or take-away. Watch out for creamy based curries like butter chicken, go for the tomato-based curries like madras or a vegetarian dahl. Again, look for curries with added vegetables rather than meat alone, alternatively, share a meat-based curry and vegetarian curry with someone else. Be aware of the entrees and side dishes as they are often deep-fried, and you will likely find the curry with rice is enough to fill you up.
I couldn’t leave pub food off the list! A lot of my clients regularly have a pub meal to meet up with friends and there are often so many options to choose from – this can be a blessing and a curse. Try and avoid any deep-fried, crumbed or battered meats, instead look for grilled meat, fish or chicken with a side of steamed vegetables or garden salad rather than chips. If there is a buffet or salad bar, look for vegetable-based salads rather than potato, pasta or rice-based salads. Be careful of creamy or oil-based salad dressings, use balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon to flavor your salad instead.
Life without eating out would be no fun at all so hopefully these tips help you to make wise and thoughtful choices and still work towards your health goals.
Get in touch to learn more about healthy eating out or any other nutrition related information.
Fuel Your Life is a nation-wide Dietetic company focusing on Veteran health and nutrition. We have specific Veteran nutrition programs which are bulk-billed for Gold and White card holders and offer in clinic or home visits. Areas we can assist with include weight management, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease, sports nutrition, mental health and pain management.
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Business Development Officer, Area Manager (Adelaide)
Fuel Your Life
Ph: 0490 542 715