By Myprotein Writer
We all know the scenario, friends or family have asked you to eat out with them but you’re on a diet and don’t want to ruin your progress.
What do you do? Don’t worry, it’s possible to eat out and stick to your healthy eating plans.
Here’s a few tips on how to make healthy choices when eating out.
#1 Choose Your Cuisine
If possible, see if you can choose the restaurant or type of cuisine. If you go to a restaurant chain most of these will provide nutritional information online for their menu, meaning you can easily track your food and make healthier choices.
If you’re not going to a chain, you can still choose a healthier type of cuisine. A lot of restaurants do offer a healthy option on their menu, but some restaurants will naturally provide more healthy food, offering you a wider variety of good choices.
For example: Oriental cuisines such as Vietnamese and Japanese offer soup-based dishes and tend to use less oil in their cooking (pho and sushi are some of the most healthy foods on offer), whereas other restaurant types, such as American grill houses or fast food restaurants, will have menus full of fat-laden foods (think burgers, milkshakes, fries).
✓ The best options tend to be Oriental (stick to Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese, as Chinese and Korean tend to have more oily heavy dishes) and Mediterranean (lots of fresh salads and grilled meat at Turkish or Greek restaurants).
✓ With healthy eating becoming more and more popular, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes which specifically provide food for the more health conscious population.
#2 Familiar Foods
If you’re on a diet, you know what foods are healthy. Try and stick to foods which resemble what you normally eat in your healthy diet as much as possible.
✓ Good options are grilled meat or fish, salads and clear broth-based soups. Some restaurants offer complex carb options, such as sweet potato and brown rice. Soba noodles are also wholegrain, if you plan to eat Asian cuisine.
✓ Most restaurants will be happy to cater to customer requests, so you can ask for no oil when cooking, and dressing on the side for your salad.
✓ Avoid anything deep-fried, and you can also ask for your side dish to be swapped to salad if you’re trying to avoid carbs.
If you really want a dessert, go for a lighter option such as fresh fruit and sorbet. Frozen yogurt is highly recommended as a tasty, low fat dessert!
As far as drinks go, avoid juices or cocktails as these are high in sugar and low nutritional value; instead go for diet soda or water. Sparkling water is also a refreshing alternative.
Try to avoid these as they are empty calories; but if you do, go for a clear spirit with diet soda mix (e.g gin and slimline tonic, vodka and diet lemonade), as opposed to liqueurs and cocktails.
#3 Steer Away From Sauces
Most sauces will be made with butter/cream/oil so stay away from sauces in your food if possible.
Creamy sauces will be loaded with fat, and any ‘sticky’ sauces for example BBQ or teriyaki will be loaded with sugar; if you really fancy a sauce-based dish try to go for tomato based sauces.
✓ A tomato-based pasta dish will probably contain less calories than a creamy pasta dish such as carbonara.
Similarly, a tomato-based curry such as tandoori will be less calorific than a creamy korma.
#4 Plan Ahead
If you know you’re going to have a meal out at a restaurant, and want a bit more leeway with your food choice, it’s worth planning this into your daily or weekly intake.
One cheat meal in a week or month will not hinder your progress significantly, but if you’re eating out everyday this will have a big effect on your diet.
On the day you plan to eat out, it could be wise to choose healthier, light options for the rest of your meals, so that it ends up being a cheat meal, not a cheat day.
Take Home Message
All in all, one meal out will not completely offset your diet plans, just skip the dessert and alcohol for now and make wise choices!