The year is nearly over and everybody seems to be more keen to socialise, go out for a meal, a drink, not to mention all the company and friendly celebration parties you need to attend. All the while you are trying to keep your sanity and stay on track with your weight loss plan. Is it possible? Yes it is.
It's not going to be perfect, so try not to expect 100% from yourself on those occasions, but there are things you can do to be prepared,so you make the best out of your evening and feeling good about yourself. Here are 9 tips to help you prepare and make better choices when eating out.
1. Portion Control
There is only one place to begin, and this is with portion control. It’s not just about what you’re eating but also how much of it you consume. If you would like a side dish, it’s better to go for steamed or grilled vegetables as opposed to French fries.
2. Don't Go Out Hungry
When going out for a meal, it is not uncommon for us to eat less throughout the day in preparation. However, when you’re trying to lose weight, this is never a good idea. Instead, you should make sure you eat as you normally do throughout the day. When you arrive at the restaurant ready to enjoy your dinner but not desperate for your meal, you'll have better control.
3. Be Mindful of Liquid Calories
For a lot of people, it can feel almost irresistible to stay away from having a soft drink with your meal. However, a healthy and enjoyable meal can turn into a real indulgence with a beverage that has been sweetened with sugar. There is nothing wrong with having some alcohol, as long as you are mindful there too. You can easily consume at least half of your daily calorie intake in drinks without noticing. Opt for the low calorie options in both soft drinks and booze. Better yet, stick to water and maybe a decaf coffee.
4. Get Rid of Guilt
A lot of people feel guilty about enjoying a meal out. However, life is to be enjoyed. You cannot simply eat salads for the rest of your life. Having one indulgent meal does not mean that you have completely spoilt all of the hard work you have done before. Simply make sure you get back on track with the next meal.
5. Make Thoughtful Swaps
Swap vegetables served with oily dressings or butter for steamed vegetables. Swap fried rice for plain boiled rice. Swap cheese and cream sauces for vegetable and tomato sauces. It is all about making clever swaps that are going to reduce your calorie intake while you are eating out.
6. Water, Water and Water
When you drink water before your meal you'll less likely overindulge or eat just because you are thirsty. Not only is this important in terms of quenching your thirst and keeping hydrated but it is going to help you to stick to healthier choices as well. Plus, if you pause to take a sip of your water, this is going to make sure you do not eat food too quickly. You'll be able to enjoy the textures and taste of your food thoroughly too.
7. Check the Menu in Advance
Pre-planning is going to make it a lot easier for you once you arrive at the restaurant. Most restaurants today will have posted their menu on their website. It is advisable to pick a dish that is mainly protein, i.e. fish, pulses, meat, or chicken, and vegetables. Stay away from anything that is mainly carbs. You can even choose your restaurant based on the type of food or the meals they serve and recommend them when organising the evening out.
8. Consider How the Food is Prepared
Dishes that are pan-fried, sauteed, creamed, fried, or ‘crispy’ tend to have more calories with them when compared with foods that are poached, baked, grilled, or steamed. When your goal is to keep your calorie intake at bay, opting for lower calorie cooking processes will save you a lot of the calories that you can use elsewhere.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Last but not least, do not be afraid to ask the waiter or waitress any questions about a dish you’re considering on the menu. If you want to know how something is cooked, simply ask them. That’s what they are there for and it will help to make sure you do not accidentally choose something extremely high in calories. Some restaurants will also be open to change some details of the meal, the side, the sauce if you ask. What have you got to lose?
So there you have it; some useful tips to follow when you are eating out. If you follow the advice that has been provided above, you will be able to keep on track when it comes to your diet no matter how many birthdays and festive meals you’ve got coming up throughout the year.
If you need some directions with your fitness goals, feel free to get in touch!
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