Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Healthier Choices for Eating Out & Takeaways

Meals out with friends and the occasional takeaway should not be a source of added anxiety.  If you eat out or have takeaways regularly then it is important to have a practical action plan to help you make a healthy choice.  Here's my top tips for eating out and takeaways.

  • Try a light starter such as grapefruit, melon, soup (less the bread), lean meat, fish or a small salad.
  • Limit yourself to two courses, i.e. a starter and a main or a main and a dessert.  Or if not too hungry why not ask for two starters instead, one as your starter and the other as your main.
  • Go continental - no bread or butter.
  • Ask for oils, dressings or rich sauces to be served in a separate dish so you can decide on how much you have.
  • Ask for a small serving size of starchy moorish foods like potatoes, chips, pasta and rice.  This is usually possible, just ask your waiter.  At the end of the day the restaurant wants your custom so most will accommodate personal preferences.
  • If possible ask for skin to be removed from your meat before cooking, i.e. skin off chicken breast or fat from your steak.  Or remove yourself before eating.
  • Do not add extra salt to your plate.
  • If drinking wine with your meal, mix with sparkling water to make a long drink or for every glass of wine you have also drink a glass of water.
  • Try the vegetarian option, if you've never eaten vegetarian before it may make a pleasant change and remember your not getting the saturated fat like you would from a meat course.
  • Take some time to digest your meal before you order dessert (if your having it).  If the waiter appears with the dessert menu as soon as they've cleared your dinner plates, feel free to tell them you'd like an extra 10/15 minutes to let everything go down. You never know you actually may be full and not want dessert or a healthier option could be to share one, how romantic!
  • In relation to the above, it actually takes around 20 minutes for your stomach receptors to tell your brain that your full so eat slowly. Enjoy your meal, savour each mouthful and chew it several times, don't bolt it down. 
Next a few ideas when it comes to your takeaways;
  • Choose thin crust pizza over thick crust.
  • Burgers without the cheese.
  • Forget the Naan bread, each one could be costing you around 300 calories!
  • Curry opt for something in a spicy tomato sauce rather a buttery creamy sauce.
  • Fish & Chips, opt for a fish cake and small chips for around 500 calories compared to a whopping 1,400 calories for a large haddock and chips!
  • If possible walk to pick up your takeaways.
Here's to happier choices for eating out, again remember its all about moderation.  I'd love to hear your comments on how healthy you are eating out.

Till next time,

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