How to Eat Out the Healthy Way

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In an ideal world we'd all have time to buy fresh, seasonal produce and prepare every meal from scratch at home. However, for most people this isn't always possible and occasionally, whether for a special occasion or just convenience, we find ourselves eating in a restaurant.

Restaurant meals can be high in fat, sugar and calories – but they don't have to be. Here's how to minimise the impact on your waistline and your health when eating out.


1. A lot of restaurants now post nutrition information in their menus or online. Check these, preferably before you go out, so you can make informed choices about what to eat based on what foods are healthier and what are not so great for you.

2. Eat a small bowl of salad before you leave the house - this will fill you up and help you eat less while you're out. Turning up ravenous will encourage you to overeat and make poor food choices.

3. When you get to the restaurant, resist the bread basket! A few chunks of bread and butter will set you back a couple of hundred calories before you've even ordered.

4. Some restaurants serve huge portions so try to go for a smaller size. You could also order one or two starters instead of a main course. And you don't have to finish all the food on your plate - ask if they can bag the rest up for you to take home. You can eat this for lunch the next day.

5. Order a side salad instead of fries, even if you've already followed the advice about eating a salad at home. You can never have too much salad! Just make sure to ask for the dressing on the side rather than poured all over so you can control how much goes on your food.

6. Choose dishes which include plenty of vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein and watch out for how they're cooked. Avoid anything fried and go for boiled, steamed or grilled options. If you only eat out occasionally, it's ok to push the boat out and indulge a little, however if you do this regularly you really should choose healthier foods most of the time.

7. Don't add salt at the table as most restaurant meals already have a high sodium content.

8. Drinks can also be full of sugar and calories so water is always your best option.

9. Skip the naughty desserts. Order fruit if it's an option, or just go without for once. You really don't need all those empty calories anyway. If you really can't resist something indulgent, split it with someone else.

See? It really is possible to eat out once in a while and stay on track with your healthy eating plan!
 
 
How often do you eat out? How do you manage to stay healthy when eating in a restaurant?

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