We all love to eat out (me more than most) and there are always opportunities popping up, date night, birthdays and family gatherings. You will probably order the rich pasta dish over the grilled fish and steamed veg. However there is research to show that over 90% of restaurant dishes contain more calories than the average recommendations.
If you are now making changes, eating better and exercising more then navigating your way around restaurant menus and making healthier choices will really help. Check out these 6 tips for eating healthier at restaurants.
1. Start with restaurant selection If you are in control of where you are going to eat then that's where you start. Western cuisine, Chinese and Italian usually have the least healthy options. Try cuisines that base the food around lean protein, veggies and whole grains. Middle-eastern, Mediterranean, Japanese and Greek will usually have more healthier options. Also try and find restaurants that change their produce seasonally. This usually means that not only are the ingredients fresh and local, you will have a greater selection of vegetables (oh and it will taste better too!)
2. Take some home Portions sizes have got bigger and bigger at home and in restaurants. So instead of not ordering your favourite dish from a menu, think about taking some home. Not only will you save a few calories but you can enjoy your favourite dish at home, win-win. There are some dishes that will keep better and are ok to reheat, like steak, risotto and pasta.
3. Put the phone down If you are constantly looking at your phone, checking Facebook or Instagram then research suggest this can lead to overeating. If your distracted when eating your not in-tune with hunger and fullness cues. Eat slowly and be mindful of each mouthful.
4. Don't go out hungry If you have eaten well during the day then you won't be starving by the time you go out. Make sure you have a good breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and mid-afternoon snack (healthy of course). If your ravenous when you sit down to order it will lead to poor choices and you'll probably over-eat.
5. Keep your numbers smaller If you are trying to eat healthier try and dine out in smaller groups. Research has shown that when we eat out in large groups you will eat more. A study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that an increase of between 47-96% in meal size when there are 2-7+ more people.
6. Do your research Now days pretty much every restaurant have their menus available online so use that to your advantage. If your a nerd like me you will get excited when browsing the menu of somewhere your going, then you can plan. By doing this you cut down the chance of being swayed by your mates to order what there having. You know you may even inspire your dinner friends to order something a little more healthy too.