It’s the third time you’ve eaten out in a week, and you think you’re being smart choosing a salad. But you’ve loaded those greens with four types of creamy dressing the fast-food outlet offers. The salad may be low carb, but the dressing has a lot of calories. Dismayed, you wonder – do I just stop eating out?
Don’t cancel that reservation just yet – all you need to ensure is that you order smart and eat consciously while dining out.
Avoid bread: When you arrive at the restaurant famished, the first thing you eye is the breadbasket. Two or three pieces of buttered bread later, you’ve consumed a couple of hundred calories before even speaking to the waiter about your order.
To prevent that, ensure you don’t arrive at the restaurant hungry. Eat a light evening snack – some dry-fruits – to keep your hunger under control.
Watch the wine: A US study points out that women who indulged in more than two drinks a day consumed nearly 30 percent more calories. So stick to one glass of wine.
Read the menu carefully: Look for a balance of lean protein (fish, chicken breast), complex carbohydrates (brown rice, whole wheat roti, whole wheat pasta), and monounsaturated fats (sunflower or olive oil).
Control portions: Eat three-quarters of what’s on your plate and then stop.
According to James Hill, PhD, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado, this one simple step can easily take 300 calories off your meal. You’ll be so satiated that you’ll barely miss those extra few bites.
Be smart about salad: Choose a salad with lots of veggies, greens, and chana and ask for dressing (preferably low-fat) on the side. Top it with one or two tablespoons. Skip bacon, cheese, croutons and creamy dressings entirely.
Stick to the tandoor: If you’re at an Indian restaurant, avoid fried starters, creamy sauces, maida naan, and order from the tandoori menu instead. While ordering, ask them to go easy while basting the tandoori dishes with oil.
Make a special request: Order your food grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or steamed instead of fried. Ask for dishes to be cooked with a little olive oil instead of butter.
Make healthy swaps: Choose whole grains such as brown rice or whole-grain bread over refined white bread and rice. Pass up the French fries, samosas, and spring rolls and order two vegetables, steamed, or dimsums instead. Instead of creamy pasta dishes, opt for those with tomato sauces, as they are generally lower in fat and calories.
Eat dessert: Order one dessert for the table, sharing a few bites should satisfy your sweet tooth.