How to dine out and eat healthy
A healthy lifestyle means being healthy no matter where you go. Many people overeat, cheat on their diets or are not aware that they are making poor food choices in restaurants. Many people dine out regularly or eat out often for business meetings and making healthy choices are essential for weight management. Here are some tips to make sure you stay lean and enjoy eating out wherever you go, while staying healthy - unless you are having a scheduled cheat meal.
Always order a healthy salad as a starter and a lean protein with a side dish for your main course. Boiled potatoes, vegetables, brown rice and salads make healthy side dishes.
Do not order any cream or buttery sauces with dishes. Always ask for sauces to be served aside and NOT drizzled all over your food.
Do not choose soup with cheese, cream or eggs. A better choice is clear, broth or vegetable soups. Steer clear of onion soup which is served with cheese and bread and is very high in calories.
Stay away from pasta, pizza, white bread, fried food, yellow cheese, fat cuts of steak, burgers, French fries, bacon, sausages and anything processed and refined.
Be careful when snacking on nuts in restaurants or in bars. One cup of peanuts is loaded with 600 calories and it is very easy to over-eat them.
Pepper, herbs, spices, soy sauce, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice are all healthy choices to add to your dishes.
Stay away from croissants, pastries, muffins or sugary cereals for breakfast. Choose oats, muesli, whole grains or egg white omelets instead. Sugar-free wholegrain muffins are also a good choice.
Choose nonfat milk or cheese and nonfat, unsweetened yoghurt.
If you’re having sushi, stay away from tempura or anything else fried, and avoid mayonnaise. Steer clear of anything crispy (this means it’s fried). Say no to creamy cheeses and ask the restaurant if they can prepare your sushi with brown rice instead of white rice. Make sure all sauces are aside and not sprinkled over your sushi.
Choose lean ground beef, lean sirloin, flank steak, top round steak and filet mignon. Avoid T-bone steaks, skirt steak, flap steak, porterhouse steak, rib-eye steak and New York strip steak. If you are serious about fat loss, you might want to consider eating red meat in moderation.
Make sure your tuna (especially canned tuna served in salads) is mixed with water and not with oil.
Do not order salads with cheese, croutons, bacon, ham or any creamy dressings especially mayonnaise. Choose sauces with olive oil, lemon, vinegar, mustard or nonfat yoghurt. Avoid "Cesar sauce" like the plague.
Add zero calorie natural sweeteners such as stevia to coffee or tea and avoid using white sugar.
Do not order anything with white flour (such as pizza or white bread) and always choose whole wheat instead. Stay away from butter.
Choose healthy starches and whole grains such as quinoa, couscous, lentils, beans brown rice or brown bread.
Make sure you order items that are grilled, baked, steamed, broiled, poached or roasted. Stay away from anything fried, pan-fried, deep-fried, sautéed, escalloped, creamed, batter-dipped, stuffed or cooked in sauce. Make SURE you ask for your food to be cooked without butter as this is one sneaky trick restaurants use to make dishes tastier. This includes vegetables too!
Do not order any dessert. Choose fruits instead and make sure they do not have any sugar, cream or ice cream toppings.
Choose salads, baked potatoes and veggies as a side order and avoid French fries, potato wedges or white rice. Double check your vegetables are steamed or grilled and cooked without butter.
Order water, unsweetened tea, coffee or diet beverages. Stay away from alcohol , dessert coffees and drinks loaded with calories. Ice tea is loaded with sugar. If you are going to order iced tea, make sure it is unsweetened. (Unfortunately most restaurants in Beirut do not serve unsweetened ice tea).Learn more about liquid calories here.
Stay away from chicken or turkey drumsticks. Always order chicken or turkey breast and make sure it is skinless (there is a lot of fat in the skin).
If you find yourself in a restaurant without healthy food, order a salad. If salads will never make you full, have two salads instead.
If you are aware that you are going to be somewhere with unhealthy food, eat before going out or plan ahead to let that be your cheat meal of the week. A final option is to plan ahead and pack your healthy food to take with you.