20 tips to eating out and being healthy this Holiday season.
By Tolu Aiyela
Firstly, You are not a Social Pariah! Just because you’re watching your weight/health does not make you a leaper! You CAN still go out and you CAN still EAT! Here are some tips on how to eat out without regretting it later…
1. Bring pre-packaged low fat dressing with you, so you’re not at the mercy of the restaurant’s selection.
2. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant, try to call ahead or look up their menu online before going out.
3. Keep a bag of small apples or some other healthy snack in your car at all times, and eat one before you go into a restaurant with friends. This will not only satisfy your hunger, but will remind you to eat wisely.
4. Bring a small container of low fat spread for bread or baked potatoes.
5. Before you leave home, make an educated choice about which dishes fit best within your ‘budget’ for the day. Then, at the restaurant, if the daily special sounds just too good to miss, do some last-minute computations to be sure you really want to change your choice.
START OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
6. Order a bowl of soup before your meal — not a creamy soup, but a stock-based vegetable or French onion. It’s very satisfying and can keep you from overeating.
7. Start with a side salad (minus bacon, cheese and croutons). Ask for low fat or fat free dressing on the side; and be sure to dip your fork into the dressing, then into the salad.
8. Try to drink water with your meal. If you decide to order a juice, fizzy drink or alcohol, always order water with it, too. If you want a second beverage, ask for a refill of the water.
9. Don’t even open the menu! Simply know what you want to eat before you get there.
10. Avoid anything fried.
11. Ask for dressings, sauces, butter and sour cream on the side, instead of on the dish itself.
12. Choose lighter fare like marinara sauce rather than Alfredo. Keep it simple.
13. Whatever you order, make sure that it has loads of vegetables. “Even if it’s pizza, make it a slice loaded up with veggies,” says one Community User. “Or a grilled vegetable sandwich instead of a mile-high sandwich shop creation, or a vegetable omelette instead of a cheese one, or fruit salad instead of pastry.”
14. Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. Most restaurants will accommodate your requests. “My favourite salad at a fast food place comes with fried chicken,” says another Community User. “But I always request it with grilled chicken. I think it tastes better and it cuts out fat and calories.”
MANAGE YOUR PORTIONS
15. When eating at a buffet, survey the food items before you put anything on your plate. The key is to remind yourself that you’re eating to be satisfied, not to get your money’s worth.
16. If the portions are large, why not ask if you can get a smaller portion of the item you order. If not, have the waiter bring a takeaway box with the meal. Before you start to eat, put half the meal in the box.
17. Split your entrée with the person you’re with. If you have the impulse to finish everything on your plate, it’s better to not have all that food in front of you.
18. Have a Good Attitude
19. Do your best and practice the art of BAM: Breathe, Accept, Move On.
20. The celebration is about being out with your family and friends, not about food being served. Enjoy yourself and remember that the meal does not need to be your enemy.
Definitely go out! As going out makes you feel like you’re a normal person, and like you’re not losing out on anything. Its important to “incorporate” healthy eating as part of a normal , healthy and active social life!
Tolu acts as a Healthy Living counsellor. Educating and advising people on how to manage a healthy lifestyle whatever the environment. Most of the people she mentors and counsels are Africans either living at home or in places where healthy products are not that easily accessible. She also owns the company Goodness, promoting healthy living, most recently she had a sale in Lagos with wonderful products to promote healthy living.