Consuming a healthy diet requires a 80/20 or 90/10 approach, this means that for around 80-90% of the time you want to be focusing on consuming nutrient dense foods which fuel your body and then 10-20% of the time you want to focus on foods that feed your soul. When it comes to eating out, these meals can fall into either part of the pie however, it really depends on how regularly you’re consuming meals outside of the home.
If eating out is a rare occurrence then going all out is no issue and you should absolutely enjoy doing so! Although, if you’re going to be eating out a few times a week to catch up with old friends then making healthier choices is more important as what you consume can really add up.
If you’re the latter then below are some tips which you may find helpful as you try to stick to the 80-90% of the picture.
- Avoid the bread basket
This is by no means to suggest that you shouldn’t eat bread but you often don’t need to eat a roll before your main meal, this is likely to fill you up before the main arrives meaning you’re more likely to overeat all together.
- Share your starters and dessert
Generally eating a three course dinner a few times a week consistently may start to have an impact, therefore you’re better off to pick up a starter or dessert and sharing it with a friend. Alongside, your main meal this will be ample, it will ensure you can still enjoy a variety of flavours and textures without having two large meals.
- Be aware of your alcohol intake
If you are eating out regularly, you may wish to moderate your alcohol intake. Alcohol can contribute to impaired sleep and a blood sugar rollercoaster alongside overeating. On the nights you are opting for a drink sticking to dry wines and clear spirits is a healthier alterative to sugary cocktails.
- Be aware of portion sizes
Portions in restaurants are often much larger than what you would serve yourself at home, there’s no obligation to eat the whole dish if you’re full. Try tuning into your meal whilst you’re chatting to ensure you’re eating to your appetite rather than just because the food is on the plate.
- Side Dishes
The side dishes can be a great opportunity to pack in more vegetables, opt for greens and fresh salad over fries as total energy intake can really add up.
- Where possible limit fried foods
Fried foods are higher in trans fats, high intakes of trans fats are not beneficial for your cholesterol profile and therefore avoiding fried foods and sticking to grilled or baked options may be a nutrient dense option.
Remember these tips are for those of you who are eating out on a regular basis. If it’s a one off or a special occasion then by all means have the extra dessert or glass of wine and enjoy yourself! Most importantly, ensure you’re ordering a dish which you’ll enjoy and which gets your taste buds excited!