Many people assume that restaurants and diets don’t mix. Yes, there are plenty of selections on that menu that may sabotage your calorie count for the day, or maybe even the week, but there will be other options that you can choose that are lower in calories, carbs, and fat grams. You can eat out on a diet without it being traumatic, and even more importantly, the meal can still be delicious.
Some restaurants are a little more diet friendly than others. Try some of these handy hints for various cuisines.
Asian. Steer right away from anything deep fried or battered. In a Chinese restaurant this is a good portion of the menu. Vietnamese and Thai eateries tend to have a healthier variety. Aim for the steamed veges, boiled or steamed rice as opposed to fried, and grilled sea foods or chicken. Soups, especially clear, are also a healthy selection.
Italian. Grilled fish, sea foods, chicken and veal will all be on the menu. Keep away from the garlic bread. Small serves of pastas with sauces that are not creamy are also OK. Steer away from the dishes oozing cheeses. Fortunately, many Italian meals will come with a side serve of salad or steamed veges. If you must have pizza, limit yourself to a couple of slices only, select a thinner style base, ask for half the usual cheese, and aim for a vegetable topping instead of high fat meats.
Mexican. Salsa is great. However, sour cream and melted cheese are not going to do you too many diet favors. Select grilled or baked dishes over fried. Spicy soups, and vegetarian meals in tomato based sauces are also good. Skip the corn chips and nachos. Any grilled fish or chicken with a salad or a small serve of rice are also diet friendly options.
Bars and Pubs. The main problem with a bar scenario is the alcohol factor. After a few drinks everything on the menu can look good, and diet inhibitions tend to vanish. You may well eat a much larger serving than you would without the pre dinner drinks. Avoid the hot chips, and look for meals like grilled meats, chicken or sea food. Salads with dressing on the side are also great choices.
Delicatessen style. Try for low GI grain breads instead of white bread. Pastramis and salamis are generally high in both fat and salt, so sliced chicken or turkey would be healthier options. Skip the butter and the mayonnaise.
Handy hints when eating out:
- ask for steamed or grilled, as opposed to fried.
- salads are safe selections.
- ask for dressings on the side.
- look for the leaner proteins such as fish, turkey or chicken.
- skip the bread roll.
- check out the other diners and their portion sizes. If they are truly enormous perhaps you can ask for a half serve?
- if you really resent skipping the desserts, share one. This way you get to halve the fat and calories, but still get the taste.
- if you feel you have really overdone it, make sure you do a little more of a workout for the next few days to burn it off.
Conclusion. Eating out while on a diet does not have to mean total diet sabotage. Smart selections mean you can eat out and lose weight as well.