It’s hard enough to eat healthily every day, but even worse when you are at a restaurant or entertaining friends or clients. The last thing you want to hear is someone asking “Are you on a diet or something?” when you place your order.
So here are a few tips to help you eat well and still enjoy yourself.
Eat a small healthy snack about an hour before you dine, so you don’t crave entrees or nibbles before your meal. Drinking a couple of glasses of water just before you dine also helps reduce hunger.
If you are choosing the restaurant, check the menu first to make sure there are healthy options. Many restaurants now list their nutritional value online so you can take a look in advance to see what’s available.
Ignore the bread basket. By not eating bread you avoid the refined flour and the extra calories. Limit alcohol intake by sipping water throughout your meal. This means you limit calories, feel better and flush your system with water. You’re also more likely to feel refreshed after the meal. Mix it up with unsweetened iced tea, or add lime or lemon to your water.
Avoid fried food and you avoid calories. Look for options that are baked, grilled, steamed, poached, roasted, or lightly sautéed. Or opt for low-fat, high-protein options such as chicken, fish or steak.
If you do have an entree, make it a fresh salad, with an oil-based (rather than butter or cream) dressing on the side. The same goes for main courses: always have sauces and gravies served separately, so you can control the amount you eat.
Make sure your side dishes, such as vegetables and potatoes, are steamed or baked. Avoid side dishes like onion rings, french fries or chips, potatoes au gratin, or other vegetables baked with cream sauces.
Keep portions small by ordering two entrees, rather than an entree and main meal, then skip the dessert menu and the cheese plate.
You don’t have to punish yourself to enjoy a meal out. With a little planning and considered decision-making, you can have lots of fun and your waist will enjoy it, too.