Smart Choices When Dining Out!

As the weekend is here for many people, eating out is a way to relax and socialize. Any type of social hangout like going out for movie, dinner, coffee, date with loved ones, etc. is incomplete without FOOD. But if you are watching your weight or just are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can be a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant, even at fast-food places. By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy eating out and still have a healthy diet. So here are few of the smart choices that I make to avoid being antisocial and at the same time keep my weight loss practices on the right path:

1. Cafe

If you are going for a coffee with your friend or colleague, you can make it worthy and harmless for your diet regime. Sometimes you feel that it’s just a coffee and it’s absolutely ok to take it, but NO. A cappuccino/frappe may be as heavy as a meal as they are loaded with added sugar and fats and hence it becomes important to make a healthier choice:

– Order a black coffee or a green tea instead of a latte or a whole fat cappuccino. If you want to use a creamer, then ask for almond milk or soy milk rather than taking a whole fat creamer.

– If you like to have something cold, have an iced coffee with stevia or treat yourself with a mocha without sugar.

– If you want to munch on something, avoid high fat muffins/cakes/biscotti’s and opt for nuts!

2. Movie

If you are a movie buff and like to catch up on movies often with your friends or family, then go ahead with that but know how to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary calories coming from that junk food being served at the theaters:

– If you prefer popcorn, then the ideal quantity is 2 handful as it is loaded with butter.

– Instead of nachos and cheese, get yourself something else like a low-fat frozen yogurt (if there is any healthy option).

– Avoid hot dogs and go for no cheese/butter sandwiches.

– Avoid empty calories present in sugar loaded cola drinks; instead opt for plain water.

3. Dining out at a Restaurant

Now this is the most tricky place where all your week’s effort can go in vain in minutes. So let me highlight some healthier options, which could be a great help to save your weight loss efforts:

a) Drinks

Usually the evening or the afternoon starts with drinks. So make sure your drinks are not loaded with sodas or any type of sugar syrups. Instead have a sparkling water or a fresh lime with soda.

b) Appetizers

– At a Chinese restaurant, order a clear soup (vegetables/chicken) with no MSG or order some steamed veggies. Also, if you like dim sum, relish their taste as well but keep the quantity in mind (have 2 pieces).

– At a Japanese restaurant, order yourself a miso soup and some sushi. It will make you so full that you can jump straight to the desserts and skip the main course.

– At a Mexican restaurant, have a soup and some guacamole with chips (have 4-5).

– At an Italian restaurant, have some nice broth soup as it has few calories in comparison to the other creamy soups. You can have some crostino with no cheese or a salad with dressing on the side.

– At an Indian restaurant, have a dal soup/chicken tikka/paneer tikka. Avoid the kebabs as they are loaded with fats.

c) Sides

Some of the super healthy and extremely delicious options for the sides are as under:

– Instead of fries, go for saute veggies.

– Ask for steamed broccoli seasoned with salt and pepper as they are yummy.

– Order jacket potato with some salsa.

d) Main Course

– Chinese/Thai main course choices – steamed brown rice/white rice with veggies or chicken. Avoid lamb!

– Japanese main course can be again some rice & veggies.

– Mexican cuisine healthier choices can include burrito without cheese.

– Italian food lovers can enjoy pizza with less cheese and lots of veggies, no sauce pasta with vegetables/olive oil. Avoid high cheese and cream main course options like lasagne.

– Indian main course choices can include dal tadka with some rice or a chicken gravy without ghee or cream. Another option that can be opted is a tandoori roti with some low fat palak paneer.

Go light on the main course options as desserts are yet to come!

e) Desserts

One should never curb the desire for desserts while going as you have a wide number of healthy choices available. Don’t forget to follow the sharing rule while enjoying desserts- have a spoon or two rather than having the whole portion. Here are few safe choices:

– A plate of fresh fruits.

– Low-fat yogurt topped with fruits.

– Granita or sorbets.

Hence by opting these choices, you can effectively balance your health and social lifestyles. Don’t forget that weight loss is easy if you have your way outs. So be smart and create an inspiration around for other as well. Remember that cheating with your diet once a while is definitely OKAY but if you make some lifestyle changes, the journey of weight loss become easier and fun. Cheers!

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