Tapas style food from china being eaten with chop sticks.

12 Top Tips when Dining Out

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Simply sticking to a healthy diet can be difficult enough for lots of people, but when we step away from the home it can become even more challenging with so much temptation all around us.

Dining out in restaurants can play a big part in our social lives i.e. going on dates, attending birthday celebrations and so on, it’s not always possible to avoid a potentially unhealthy situation when presented with our chosen establishments menu.

How can any of us have control of our diet when we don’t have control of our eating environment?

We can control our environment, even if it appears the opposite.  No matter where we eat we can have enough control over our choices to ensure the experience does not ruin any of your hard work and progress.  Remember, you are the customer and you are in charge.

Here are 12 top tips for making your dining out experience a healthier one:

  • Choose where to eat in advance and with extra thought and careful consideration.  Do not wait until the last minute or when you are hungry as you will likely make a poor decision leading to poor food choices.
  • Avoid “all-you-can-eat” places – your diet will not survive here.  Any restaurant with a mascot is more than likely going to be a huge problem, you know which ones these are, right?
  • Go to the restaurant’s website before you go to find a menu and try to get a good idea of what will work for you.
  • Avoid leaving the house hungry, have a small snack 1-2 hours before you set off.  This will prevent you from ‘having eyes bigger than your belly’ to avoid overeating.
  • Restaurants  provide you with a service, do not be afraid to ask questions or make special requests to modify your meals to suit your needs.  They aren’t likely to refuse your requests, they want your experience to be positive and that is based on what you want and need from them.
  • Order still or sparkling water immediately to avoid mistaking hunger as thirst – sip it slowly.
  • You know those free snacks that show up on your table soon as you sit down?  Send them back or imagine they are not there (will-power required).
  • As painful as it may be to do, choose foods for their nutritional quality rather than for their high fat or sugary appeal (more will-power required).
  • Stating the obvious – avoid low nutrient high energy foods such as chips/fries, fizzy pop/soda, side orders such as garlic bread and onion rings.
  • Ask for foods without mayonnaise, cheese, sour cream, gravies and similar sauces.  If you have to, use ketchup, mustard, salsa or BBQ sauce.
  • If your friends or partner suggests having a starter then some good choices include fruit, steamed seafood, smoked salmon or salads.
  • Always get a side of fresh vegetables.

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