With the summer now fast approaching, more and more of us will be outdoors on a regular basis, out and about at various social events and days out at weekends and on our days off. Whilst spending time out of the house is enjoyable, beneficial, and productive, it can be difficult when trying to eat healthily and watch our weight. Even dining out on our lunch breaks at work or on road trips and long journeys can be tricky as far as healthy produce is concerned. When you think of cafes, shops, restaurants, and anywhere else that happens to sell food and drink, as far as the food goes, it’s far from healthy, which is why eating out can be a real nightmare for anybody looking to eat healthy, watch their weight, or lose their weight. There are burgers, pizzas, fries, and various other fried or fatty products in abundance, but as far as healthy food goes, unless you opt for a generic chicken salad with the dressing on the side, you may struggle. If any of the above sounds familiar to you and you’re finding it difficult to eat healthy whilst on the road or out and about, here are a few tips that will come in especially handy for you.
Always ask for dressings and sauces on the side
If you do decide to eat out, and opt for a salad, a grilled chicken burger, or another relatively healthy dish that comes served with sauce or dressing, when ordering your meal, always ask that your sauce or dressing be served on the side. With salads for example, many salad dressings are actually oil-based, especially the rich and creamy ones such as Caesar dressing. A serving of these dressings could increase the calories of your salad by as much as 400 calories, possibly even more if you have an especially generous chef who isn’t afraid of using a lot of dressing. By asking for dressing on the side, you can either not use any at all, or you can control how much you use, so that that way you can still enjoy a little bit if you want, without having to use the entire serving. With burgers, sandwiches, wraps, and various other meals, again, ask for any sauces on the side and only use a small amount.
Always opt for grilled, baked, or steamed foods as opposed to fried
Many cafes, restaurants, and diners will serve a variety of different foods, cooked in a number of different ways. Some food will be shallow fried, some deep fried, some steamed, some grilled, and some boiled. As you probably know, frying foods is probably the unhealthiest way of preparing them, especially shallow frying them. You may have thought that deep frying would be the unhealthiest, but in actual fact, as shallow frying creates a greater surface area, more of the food absorbs more of the fat. Either way, if a food is cooked in fat, it probably isn’t going to be very good for you, and even if the fat is from a healthy source, it will still be rich in calories. To reduce your calorie intake and be a little healthier, when ordering food, ask for foods that are grilled, steamed, baked, or poached, basically, cooked without any/much fat. A deep fried battered fish and fries for example, would be rich in oily fat and calories. A grilled or steamed fillet of fish, served with a baked potato and a side salad, would be far healthier and would contain much less calories.
Don’t be afraid to make special requests
If you are eating out and would like a certain meal, cooked in a certain way, don’t be afraid to make this request as the servers and chefs would almost certainly be happy to help. For example, if you would like poached eggs but you don’t see this option on the menu, only fried, don’t be afraid to ask if they would mind poaching a couple of eggs for you instead. If ordering a sandwich, ask for no butter or sauce on the bread, and perhaps a little extra salad. Remember, these eateries rely on you for business, so keeping you happy is in their best interests and nine times out of ten they’d be more than happy to make a few changes for you.
Stay away from breaded or battered produce
If a food is breaded or battered, it will almost certainly be fried or at the very least, drizzled in oil and then baked so that the breadcrumbs absorb the oil/butter. These foods are obviously full of fat and are considered unhealthy for a number of reasons. If you absolutely do have to order a battered or fried food, remove the breadcrumb or batter coating to drastically reduce the number of calories that the food contains.
Make healthier choices
This is probably the most obvious but again, many people seem to overlook it when eating out and will use it as an excuse to binge eat on foods they ordinarily wouldn’t consume. Every menu out there will have healthy and not-so healthy choices, so it will be down to you to select the healthiest food you can find, that you know you will still enjoy. For example, if there are various cuts of meat on offer, a grilled chicken breast will be far healthier than a fatty lamb steak or piece of belly pork. Instead of fries, go for boiled or baked potatoes and perhaps order a side salad or an extra serving of vegetables to increase the vitamin and mineral content of your meal. Even something as simple as ordering a grilled chicken burger with NO cheese, NO dressing, and extra salad will provide a healthy and balanced meal that you enjoy, and will help keep you going for the next few hours. There are always healthy choices and options on any menu, you just need to know what to order, and have the discipline to actually order them.