So you’re trying to eat healthy. You’ve stocked up on the right food at home, planned your meals meticulously and you’ve yet to give in and reach for the chocolate biscuits.
Then you go out to dinner. And in just one night, you manage to consume enough calories to last you two days. The result? You’re bloated and consumed by guilt.
“The average three-course meal in a restaurant contains about 1,800 to 2,000 calories,” says dietician Sarah Keogh of Eat Well. “This can go up to 3,000 calories when you add in a bottle of wine.”
“But of course, it depends on where and what you eat. Some meals contain fewer calories than others.”
“Just because you’re eating out, doesn’t mean your healthy food plan has to go the window” she adds. “If you’re clever, you can still enjoy your meal without over eating. Simply make some sensible choices.”
Plan your meal online
Most restaurants have the menu on their website. By checking it in advance you can plan your meal, which means you’re less likely to make the wrong food choices when it comes to dining out.
Don’t eat three courses
“Limit your calories by having just two courses instead of three – either a starter and a main course, or a main course and a dessert,” says Sarah. Or cut out the main course altogether and opt instead for two starters. This will typically save you 200 to 400 calories.
As the customer- ask for what you want
Don’t want a steak fried in butter? Then simply tell the restaurant.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a meal to prepared the way you want it. After all, you are the customer. If necessary ring in advance and ask the restaurant to accommodate you.
Step away from the chips
“Try to limit the amount of carbohydrates that you eat as much as possible,” says Sarah. “And be aware of how they are cooked. For example, a boiled potato contains about 70 calories, while a portion of chips has approximately 330. “Or instead of having chips or potatoes with your main meal, you can also ask instead for extra vegetables or salad.”
Take salad dressing on the side
You might think you’re being healthy by ordering a Caesar salad. In fact, some portions have close to 1,000 calories because of the creamy fat-laden dressing and the croutons. Ask for salad dressing on the side. Many of them and especially the creamy versions contain tons of calories.
Overdrink water instead of overeating
We often confuse hunger with thirst. By drinking water throughout your meal you will eat less and fill up more quickly.
You don’t need that extra glass of wine
Just because it’s liquid doesn’t mean it has no calories. Light whites have around 140 calories per six-ounce glass. A light red has between 135 to 165 calories. While a higher-alcohol red like Pinot Noir or Syrah can have up to 200 calories in just one glass. Want to keep your healthy eating regime in check? Limit your alcohol intake.
Listen to your stomach - stop eating when you’re full
“People often have the mentality that they’ve paid for food and therefore they should eat all of it,” says Sarah. “But this is the wrong attitude when you are sticking to a healthy eating regime. “It’s important to stop eating when you’re full. You don’t have to clear your plate.”