#Realtalk. Between sunday brunch with friends, breakfast meetings and client lunches, restaurant dining and cafe hopping are a regular part of life for many of us. Plus, sometimes you’re just too busy or exhausted to cook for yourself and nothing beats someone else doing it for you am’I right!?
For me however, around 6 years ago dining out used to give me so much anxiety when I was overly obsessive about avoiding gluten, sugar and dairy and fussing about what oil my food was cooked in. Yes you say goodbye to knowing everything that goes into your food however, you also don’t want to be saying goodbye to your social life like I did! I got to a point where I was declining lunch dates and missing out on the fun! This is where we need to surrender and let go of extremes and the “all or nothing” mentality. At the end of the day eating at restaurants is fun and doesn’t have to mean you’re taking a step backwards. It is absolutely possible to eat healthy when out – you just need a few tricks up your sleeve so you can be prepared to make some good choices.
Try these tips + tricks next time you eat out:
1. Pick a restaurant and look at the menu in advance.
Save yourself the anxiety of trying to pick a healthy option last minute and choose before you go! You’ll also be surprised as to how flexible most restaurants will be at catering for your dietary requirements – especially when it comes to gluten & dairy free – you just have to ask, or even call ahead of time.
2. Prioritise lean proteins, veggies or legumes
Make it a non-negotiable that you order a large side of steamed or roasted veggies; or a salad, just skip the extra sauces and dressing and request olive oil and vinegar.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask
If there is nothing to choose on the menu, ask the waiter if the chef could prepare a simple grilled chicken/fish with steamed veggies. I have never been declined!
4. Look for key-words on the menu that are giveaways for what to avoid
Dishes with these words tend to have hidden trans fats and salts. Instead, look for menu items with words like:
5. Prepare dessert for yourself
Sugar-free is harder to avoid at restaurants, so if you eat out often skip the dessert and have a herbal tea instead. Alternatively, return home and indulge in your favourite Luna’s Latte and a Moonbox-friendly treat at home so that you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself.
Need some inspiration? Why not try our Avo Choccy Mousse recipe?
6. Avoid alcohol
Opt for water, sparkling water with lime, tea, kombucha, freshly squeezed juice instead of alcohol. Or if you choose to drink alcohol opt for the lower sugar options such as dry spirits, beer or red wine and limit to 3-4 glasses a week.
Often restaurants will give you 2-3 x larger sized portions than a normal serving, so splitting a dish is a great way keep portions more realistic and balanced.
Lastly, get rid of those guilty thoughts that “you’re being difficult”, this is your health and it’s up to you to take full responsibility, especially if you’re someone that dines out alot 😀
What are your favourite tips for healthier ways to enjoy eating out?