It’s a cliché, but living a healthier lifestyle is meant to enhance your life, not prevent you from going out and enjoying yourself. Food should be celebrated and eating out is a great opportunity to try new things and indulge in foods you wouldn’t usually cook at home. However, during weeks when your social life becomes jam-packed or client dinners seem never-ending, the constant stream of restaurant dinners can leave you feeling less than your best. For the days when you still want to make sure you're fueling your lifestyle as well as possible, here are some useful tips and tricks for staying on track when eating out…
Don’t Go Hungry
Getting to a restaurant absolutely starving is a recipe for disaster. To avoid devouring everything in sight, try having a protein-based snack beforehand. A protein shake or some Greek yoghurt with berries are both great options to keep hanger at bay and will help to make sure you’re hitting your protein goals.
Be Prepared – Check out the Menu
A lot of bad decisions are made in a panic, mostly when the server is tapping their pen and your friends look on impatiently. Most restaurants, even independent ones, have a copy of their menu available online, so you can browse it beforehand and assess the healthiest options without mounting pressure from your peers.
Keep Your Drinks Light
If you can, stick to water – it’s kinder on your bank balance and avoids empty calories that don’t do anything for you. But if you do want to join in and have a drink, try to choose lighter options, such as vodka, lime and soda or a slimline G&T.
Keep Things Simple
When in doubt, go with a rule of simplicity. Most of the time you’ll be able to order grilled meat or fish with a side of veggies. If there’s nothing on the main menu that fits the bill, don’t be afraid to swap out things you don’t need, or just build yourself a plate out of sides (no, we don’t mean the triple cooked chips!). Use your common-sense - if it’s deep-fried or served in a heavy cream, then probably not going to be super nutritious. Pick what seems best, and don’t stress too much about the finite details.
Watch Your Portion Size
When it’s sat in front of us, we’re way more likely to eat more food than we actually need. Avoid that ‘too-stuffed’ feeling by eating slowly and being mindful of your portion sizes. If you hate food waste, take home any leftovers in a doggy bag – it’ll also save you from having to meal prep the following day!
Skip DessertWe love a good dessert, but as always, the key is moderation. Ordering a sticky toffee pudding or a chocolate fondant every other day is neither going to make you feel your best or help you reach your goals. If there is something on the menu that you just can’t resist, suggest splitting it across the table, and then be sure to savour every bite!