Most of us live in cities where we are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Busy lives mean it’s tempting to cave into that burger on the way home or try the new restaurant on the corner.
The good news is that even if you’re trying to lose weight or get fit you can still frequent your local restaurant or have an easy night in without cooking. You just need to be smart about your menu choices.
Many restaurants and cafes are making positive changes to their cooking methods and ingredients. Fast food in particular is becoming higher in fibre and lower in salt and saturated fat. You can often check this yourself by picking up a leaflet at the counter of your local takeaway.
Even, if takeaway is healthier you still need to watch your portion size. If you want to enjoy some fries then make sure you share them around. Order entrée sizes and ask your waiter about the size of your meal. Remember, just because you’ve paid for your food doesn’t mean that you have to eat it all.
Plan what you are eating before you go. These days you can view a menu online and think about healthier choices before you leave. When you get to your venue don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. Most restaurants are happy to oblige and will change your sauce or put it on the side.
Cuisines vary in their healthy options. If you’re going Asian then Japanese is an excellent choice. Miso soup, sashimi or sushi, edamame beans and grilled fish or meat are very nutritious. Try to avoid tempura and lashings of mayonnaise.
Vietnamese is also a great selection. A bowl of pho or rice paper rolls and veggie laden stir-fries are the better dishes to pick. Choose stir-fries with lots of veggies when you have Thai, Indian or Chinese as well. Go for light sauces and steamed options.
If you’re having Italian try to choose tomato based sauces and lean meats. Go easy on the extras like parmesan and garlic bread. Avoid cream based mains unless you’re a die-hard carbonara fan. Order a side salad and choose gelato for dessert over tiramisu.
If you’re heading out for Middle Eastern food then opt for humus, baba ghanoush, shish kebabs and soups and salads. Try to watch fatty cuts of meat and cut it off and leave it if it’s served. Deep fried foods such as falafel and kibbeh are best avoided too.
Your local pub food can be more of a challenge. Tuesday night parma is not your best choice. If grilled meat or fish are on the board choose this with a side salad. If you have to have chips then remember the fatter they are the less fat they absorb.
Takeaway is expensive and will never have the nutrition of home cooking. It will almost always be higher in fat, salt and kilojoules. If you are out for a meal try to offset it with some exercise and smart choices. Definitely choose to walk that dagwood dog home so you don’t turn into a whopper.