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Sunday, July 31, 2011

The smart way to eat out

The smart way to eat out

Increasingly busy lifestyles, long working hours and numerous daily commitments mean that eating out has become a routine part of modern life. Unfortunately for those who enjoy a restaurant meal, it is likely to mean extra kilojoules thanks to the mix of larger portion sizes, the heavy use of oil, butter and heavy sauces as well as numerous courses. Here are my top tips for eating out without weight gain.

Choose your cuisines carefully
Indian, Chinese and Thai foods in particular tend to be extremely high in fat, due to their overt use of high fat sauces such as coconut milk and batters, as well as the large volumes of oil used for frying a range of menu options. When high fat curries and fried foods are then eaten in conjunction with large amounts of white rice, noodles and breads, it is easy to see how a kilo joule overload can result. Ideally such high fat cuisines need to be consumed sparingly, just once or twice a month.

Look for the light options
Japanese, Greek and even Modern Australian cuisines as these options tend to have a much wider range of menu items that will allow you to make healthier choices. Any sort of raw fish, grilled meat or seafood will be a great choice, especially when teamed with a large portion of vegetables or salad.

Size is everything
The truth be known, if we simply ate smaller portions of everything, far fewer of us would have a weight problems. Few of us really need both an entrée as well as a main course and for most of us an entrée sized portion of heavier foods such as pasta or risotto will be more than sufficient. If the serves of pasta, rice or meat are far larger than you need, before you start your meal, visualize how much of the portion you have been served you will eat and then take the excess off your plate and share with your fellow diners.

When it comes to desserts, no one is saying that you have to avoid them completely, but remember that the most pleasure of a dessert is gained in the first few mouthfuls, so if you really spot something you love on the menu, share with as many people as possible.

Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables
One the biggest issues with meals consumed away from the home is that they rarely contain the amounts of vegetables or salad that we need for good health and to help us feel full and satisfied. Even though they can be expensive when ordered as sides, it is worth ordering extras to help bulk up your meal so you are not tempted by extra chips or bread.

Top Tips for Eating Out
Never go to a restaurant starving; have a small snack 1-2 hours to take the edge off your hunger

Be directive with friends when they are making restaurant choices – remember that both Indian and Thai foods are exceptionally high in fat.

If you love eating bread, try doing what the Italians do and take the middle out and just enjoy the crust.

Order as much extra salad and vegetables as you can afford to bulk your plate up

Aim to be the last diner to finish your meal, eating slowly, placing your knife and fork down in between each mouthful and chewing everything well.

Be mindful that restaurant foods are likely to be very salty, so drink at least 3 glasses of water throughout the course of the meal to help flush