Here is my guide to eating out well whilst maintaining a weight loss regime. Most of my clients express their concern about making the correct food choices whilst eating out so you are not alone.
1. Carefully select the social occasions you attend. If you have friends that will test your willpower by ordering lots of wine and will constantly test your motivation by cooing over the dessert menu, this may be an event to miss out on. It is best to surround yourself with supportive family and friends who have a similar mindset whilst you are focused on losing weight.
2. Every single restaurant will always have a high protein, low-fat and/or low-carb alternative. You can even walk into a MacDonalds these days (and select an option that will not completely ruin your weight loss campaign. Always try and select a high-protein option ideally with vegetables. A small to moderate amount of whole-grain carbohydrates is also ok.
3. Be assertive. If ordering in a restaurant, ask the waiter for a healthier option if something on the menu comes with a less than ideal option i.e ask to replace chips with rice or replace coleslaw side dish with a green vegetables or a salad.
3. Chew your food slowly to aid digestion. Research also shows that those who eat slowly have a greater feeling of satiety thus reducing the temptation to order more food that they didn’t need, i.e. dessert after a main meal.
4. Order natural, unprocessed food when ordering. Any food that is colourful, grown or produced naturally is generally a better alternative to processed food. Any foods that are beige in colour (bread,cakes, biscuits, pies or pasta) will generally provide you with very little nutritionally.
5. Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. So a little of what you fancy is fine. However, make sure you keep these occasions to a set amount e.g. once per week/fortnight. Plan and enjoy them and but then return to your healthy eating plan straight afterwards. As the old saying goes ‘you can’t out-train a bad diet’, and I’ve seen many clients try and fail!!
By Daryl Browne MSc