When you following a weight loss plan, going to a cafe with friends or family can feel like all your good work will go to waste. But this doesn’t have to be the case!
Follow our five healthy eating tips below and you can not only enjoy dining out, but look forward to it.
1. Check the menu at home and make some decisions
Most restaurants have their menu online, so have a quick look before you head out to see what might be some good choices.
As a rule of thumb, anything deep fried is a less desirable option (schnitzel, chips, spring rolls); as are most creamy sauces or dressings.
Choose something with a lean protein component (chicken breast, grilled salmon, whole fish, Scotch fillet), and then load up your plate with vegetables or salad.
By looking at the menu in advance you can make some rational decisions before you get there, so that hunger or excitement don’t override your better judgement.
2. Remember, it’s not the last meal you’ll ever have
For many of us, going out for dinner is a rare treat. For that reason it can be tempting to think ‘why not’ and order the blow out meal which you might end up regretting later.
It’s important to remember that there will be many more opportunities in your life to dine out, and feeling as though you are missing out by ordering a healthier option just isn’t a good excuse to order unhealthy food.
3. You can (almost) always make special requests
Many restaurants will allow you to make some minor adjustments to the menu.
You could ask for extra salad instead of chips, or some steamed veggies instead of a creamy potato bake, switch bacon for olives in your salad, or ask that the bread basket not be refilled.
4. Split a portion and save
When you go somewhere special and really fancy a dessert, why not consider splitting the portion? That way you can still get a taste but you won’t be consuming a huge amount.
5. Keep an eye on the extras
It’s not just the entrees, mains or dessert you need to focus on. Side orders like garlic bread or chips, and wine or soft drink can quickly add up in the calorie department.
Often we order things like garlic bread when we first arrive and are hungry, only to find that we are too full to finish our main meal. Why not order your main and then see if you need anything extra, rather than opting for extras and sides as a matter of course.
When it comes to beverages, steer clear of sugary soft drinks – they don’t quench your thirst and in fact make you crave more and more. Instead stick to sparkling water with fresh lime or a splash of juice.
If you are having some wine with your meal it’s a good idea to order by the glass and set yourself a limit so that you don’t overdo it.
Calories in food and drinks at the cafe