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Eat Out, Guilt Free!

Eat Out, Guilt Free!

Inspiration

Today’s post is all about eating out… why its fun and good for you; because after a busy hectic week who doesn’t like to unwind over a meal they didn’t have to cook and enjoy some much needed catching up with a loved one or good friends?

 

Before I started this crazy fitness journey of mine, going out for a meal used to be very different from what it is now. I would have lunch, and then not eat anything for the rest of the afternoon so by the time I got to the restaurant I would be absolutely ravenous. I’d then sit down and proceed to polish off half the bread basket, slathering each piece of bread with butter (!) whilst throwing back a couple of glasses of wine. Then when the starters were placed on the table I would just eat whatever I fancied and however much of it.  To cut a long story short, I absolutely loved eating like this at the time but a little while later would always be over full, and bloated and quite lethargic (read – carb overload).

 

If you’re like me and following some sort of fitness plan and food regime then going out for  a meal can sometimes throw you into a loop because you automatically think ‘there go all my best intentions and tonight just became cheat day’. But this doesn’t have to be the case. You can go out, have a fantastic time and still totally manage to eat clean.   Now when I’m going out for a meal I plan ahead, make sure I have eaten a decent snack (which includes some carbohydrates and protein – like a smoothie, or a bowl of natural yoghurt with nuts, or some rye toast with almond butter), had plenty of water and more often than not I will make sure I’ve worked out beforehand so even if I do indulge a little bit there’s a lot less guilt involved later. My indulgences tend to be the vino rather than desserts but at the end of the day its still empty calories.   Here are some simple suggestions on what to do to make it easier for yourself:

  • Planning ahead and being mindful of what you are eating
  • Look for the words ‘grilled’ ‘steamed’ and ‘baked’ and avoid items on the menu that use the words ‘pan fried’, ‘crispy’, ‘dipped’, ‘scalloped’ or ‘gratin’ in them as these tend to contain a lot of hidden fat and sodium.
  • Start with a stock based soup (not cream) like minestrone or a salad. Ask for the dressing to be served on the side. They usually give you about a 1/4 cup of salad dressing which is approx. 6 tablespoons. If you must dress your salad then aim to apply about 2 tablespoons
  • Ask your server about how the food is prepared. Its better to ask rather than just eat it to be polite!
  • Watch your side dishes – rice tends to be buttered, its usually better to ask for a baked potato that you can add a little dollop of sour cream to and that way have some control over the amount of fat you’re consuming. Clearly chips are a no no if you’re eating clean;) but baked chips are fine!
  • For your main dish pick something which gives a balance of protein, carbohydrates and some vegetables. Your plate should be 1/4 protein, 1/4 carbs and 1/2 vegetables. Restaurants tend to give massive portions of meat and chips/rice/potatoes and not too many vegetable. If this is the case you can always share (!) or just ask for the meat and vegetables. For example, 1 grilled chicken breast with a side of mixed green steamed vegetables
  • For your dessert – pick sorbets or non dairy gelato. Or order a black coffee / skim milk latte if its about being social. Its not necessary to eat dessert.
  • You don’t have to eat everything you are served. You can share or take the leftovers home. don’t feel obliged to finish everything on your plate.

 

I’ll just touch on different cuisines because most of what ive mentioned above only really applies to continental meals.

With Asian cuisine – go easy on the rice! instead opt for meat / and colourful vegetables and serve yourself so you can control portion sizes.

With indian cuisine try to choose a meal which contains vegetables (other than potatoes) and avoid the rice, naan and pappadums (fun hey?) – I usually have the starters at indian restaurants and go for chicken/fish tikka and stuff myself with the salad and then avoid the mains altogether.

a Buffet! Now this can be seriously tricky especially if youre already hungry when you get there. Make a beeline for the salad, avoid the starters being handed out by the waiters unless they’re grilled or steamed and fill yourself with some chicken/fish/lamb & vegetables before you hit the bar! Also remember its not necessary to go for seconds.

Eating out is supposed to be enjoyable, a chance to let your hair down and be social –  so have a great time and practice the 80/20 rule. Even if you do indulge, tomorrow is a new day, a new workout and an opportunity to eat better and cleaner!

About the author

Meera Vadgama info@thefitfabfoodie.com

4 Comments

  1. Nikita
    January 22, 2015 at 3:44 pm
    Reply

    love this read and so so true!!!! You put it out perfectly using all the right words! Truly amazing work…

    • Meeroxy
      January 28, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      thank you so much Niki!

  2. original post
    February 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm
    Reply

    The formatting of your post is great. Easy to read, digest and share.

    • Meeroxy
      February 17, 2015 at 5:28 am

      thank you so much!

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