Eating out and weight loss can often be tricky to manage, but there are plenty of tasty choices on most menus that won’t blow your diet!
Everyone eats out now and again and these days eating out at least once a week is not uncommon.
Restaurants, fast food joints, workplace canteens, sandwich shops…the choice and challenges each represents are wide and varied.
So how do you eat out and enjoy yourself whilst watching the calories?
Planning is Everything…
From the choice of restaurant and the type of food they serve to what you’re actually going to eat. Give it some thought in advance.
For instance, fried chicken restaurants are unlikely to offer a great deal of choice for people watching their weight, so go somewhere else.
Avoid foods that are fried, are covered in pastry, smothered in rich, creamy sauces or oily dressings, pizzas or other dishes covered in cheese…
Plan to eat simple grilled dishes – lean meat, chicken or fish, with steamed vegetables, salads, some fruit.
It makes eating out and weight loss straightforward. In fact, there’s no reason why most restaurants won’t have plenty of dishes very similar to those in our free weight loss meal plans.
So what do you choose?
We’ve had clients call us when actually sitting in a restaurant ready to order. I’ve had a client who popped into the ladies when entertaining customers at a business lunch asking whether to have the chicken or the fish!
First off, follow the simple guidelines in our healthy weight loss plan and eating out and weight loss becomes simple.
For example, do you have a steak with a peppercorn sauce, fries, a salad with a vinagrette dressing followed by a slice of cheesecake?
Or do you opt for grilled sea bass with boiled new potatoes and steamed vegetables followed by a fresh fruit salad?
The steak and accompaniements will set you back around 1,700 to 2,000 calories. The fish dish around 500 calories.
Big difference, eh?
The way that food is cooked is important, so go for lower fat options like:
Avoid higher fat cooking methods and terms like:
What about a starter? Do you really need one?
If everyone else is having one and you don’t want to be left out have one. A salad with a dressing on the side or some prawns, scallops, or other shellfish without the creamy or oily dressings are fine.
In fact, if you choose wisely, you can easily have three courses and eat less than 600 calories.
On the side
Avoid the extras, things like bread rolls, which have around 100 calories each and butter, around 80 calories a scraping.
For desserts stick to fruit salads and fruit sorbets. Without stating the obvious, pass on the cakes, pastries, puddings…
A slice of chocolate fudge cake can easily rack up 500 calories.
Wine or beer contain around 80-120 calories a glass, so go easy. A glass of wine with a meal is fine, just don’t overdo it.
Aside from the calories, the more you drink, the less inhibited you become, the more likely you are to lose track and overeat and the harder eating out and weight loss becomes.
Always ask for a jug of water and sip from that as you eat. Alternate sips of water then wine will help the wine last longer.
If you’re combining eating out and business, do you really need alcohol? Water or a soft drink is probably the more professional option, especially at lunchtime if you’re going back to work in the afternoon.
You’re the customer, you’re in control. The restaurant needs your business so take charge.
If you don’t see what you want on the menu, ask them if they can prepare something especially. We rarely find that’s a problem for most restaurants.
Modify what’s on the menu – omit the fries, hold the dressings and sauces, ask for extra vegetables…
You have more control over what you prepare at home than when eating out, so be careful. There’s usually lots of hidden fat in restaurant cooked food, although more restaurants are labelling the healthier, lower fat options.
But be careful of the carbs, too. Something may be low fat, but contain lots of sugar calories.
Pasta and rice dishes may look like the healthy option, but are packed full of carbs and calories.
Eating Out and Weight Loss is Simple…
Eat plenty of veg and some fruit and try not to drink too much alcohol.
Most of all enjoy your food and socialise. The more you chat and laugh with friends, family and work colleagues the less you’ll think about the food choices you’ve made, or secretly wish you could have had!
Eating out and weight loss can be fun so make the healthier choices, don’t feel deprived and enjoy!