It is becoming more common for us to eat out at cafes and restaurants. The problem with this is that so many foods in the cafés and restaurants are not that good for us. Knowing which foods are better choices can make all the difference when it comes to being able to stick to our healthier meals and a healthy eating plan. Abiding by some of the below basic principles when it comes to eating out means we can make choices with the confidence that we are not undoing all our hard work.
- Avoid pre-prepared juices – these contain so much hidden sugar and are not the
- ealthy choice we think they are.
- Choose poached or boiled eggs instead of fried. Add a side serve of grilled tomato, spinach, mushrooms and asparagus. If eating bread, stick to one slice and opt for multigrain, rye or spelt.
- Fresh fruit with yoghurt is also a good option.
- Choose one piece of raisin toast rather than two.
- Bircher muesli is packed full of nutrients but is very energy dense so keep your serving size small.
- Avoid pancakes and French toast.
- Choose salad options with protein such as grilled chicken salad.
- Keep dressings on the side rather than pre-mixed.
- Choose salads without cheese, like garden salad.
- Steer away from deep fried options.
- Steer away from a lot of bread. Choose a wrap instead. If eating a sandwich ask for an open sandwich instead, or just eat one slice of bread rather than both. Choose lean cuts of meat such as turkey or ham, or tuna or salmon as filling options. Opt for as much salad as possible and choose avocado instead of mayonnaise or margarine.
- If choosing Japanese, for example sushi, opt for brown rice sushi and stick to grilled chicken, avocado, tuna, salmon, and vegetarian options. Steer away from teppanyaki and deep fried. The best option is sashimi with or without a small serve of brown rice.
- Vietnamese rice paper rolls or clear noodle soup is a good option.
- Choose water or green tea as a drink.
- Avoid soft drinks, juice, smoothies, iced teas and cordial.
- Mediterranean – avoid the bread. One medium bread roll can be equal to the same amount of calories as a palm-sized piece of meat or chicken. You can either choose the bread or the meat but not both – I know what I would rather have! Avoid main meal sizes and instead choose entrée sizes for meals. If having pasta, opt for tomato based instead of carbonara or creamy based sauces. Choose grilled fish, chicken or lamb with garden salad and dressing on the side. Share a dessert – the best option being sorbet with fruit.
- Asian – choose clear soups such as miso and rice noodle soups. Opt for stir-fries rather than deep fried dishes. Avoid curries, coconut-milk based meals and skip the entrée and go straight to a main meal.
- Avoid pizza and other fast foods.
- Stick to 1–2 glasses of wine or beer. Choose mineral water with lemon or lime if you still feel like something ‘special’ to drink.
As with anything, moderation is the key. If you keep your serving size small then you can enjoy your meal and be a little less selective with what you choose. Keep in mind that if you only eat out infrequently then choose any option you feel like but remember to get back onto your healthy eating plan tomorrow.