At the end of the day, dining out is meant to be an enjoyable & social experience. But with a little thought you can still eat delicious food and not undo your path to a more healthy lifestyle.  Here’s how –

  1. Have a plan – if you’re eating out that night have a lighter lunch and have a snack around 4pm so as you’re not starving when you get to the restaurant
  1. If you can – be the one to pick the restaurant for everyone that way you will do your best to pick one that has tasty healthy options. Some restaurants now list calories on their menus
  1. Scout the menu in advance. Most restaurants will have their menus online
  1. Drink plenty of water while you are waiting for your starter. That way you’ll fill up a little on water and not bread!
  1. Look for a starter that is fruit or veggie based and avoid fried starters – melon / fish / salsa sauces
  1. Ask for vegetable based sides and dressings on the side. These will help keep calories lower and boost your overall nutrient intake
  1. Go for tomato based sauces as appose to creamy ones
  1. Eat slowly – I’m always on about this but it’s true that fast eaters are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are more satisfied
  1. You can always share a dessert. Meringue and fruit based desserts will be lower in calories
  1. Remember that eating out is to be enjoyed so if things are a little out of your control you can also balance it out the next day with a walk or workout class

Takeaway Food:  Most of us will agree that takeaways are not the best for our health and don’t leave us feeling the best but it is important to be able to have these foods as part of a balanced diet yet not too frequently.

Chinese Food:

  1. Avoid anything fried like dim-sums, spring rolls. Consider sharing a starter
  1. Go for stir-fries which have plenty of colourful vegetables
  1. Remember the portions of rice are way too big. One serving is 120g cooked rice or a tennis ball size so sharing a rice is vital

Thai Food:

  1. No spring rolls or chicken wings – and coconut milk-based dishes, as they’re high in saturated fat. Go easy on the satay sauce
  1. Go for steamed or grilled meats where possible. Look for dishes made with lime, lemongrass, basil, chilli and seafood
  1. Don’t skip the soup and salad menu as these will be your most nutrient-rich choices. Hot and sour prawn soup and Thai beef salad are some of the healthier options

Italian Food:

  1. Avoid thick pizza bases, high fat pizza toppings like bacon, salami and extra cheese
  2. Avoid cream based pasta sauces
  3. Go for healthier toppings like veggies, salad and chicken or seafood

Indian Food:

  1. Avoid any breads made with ghee (clarified butter) such as peshwari and paratha
  1. Avoid oily starters such as bhaji, samosa or pakhora
  1. Choose drier dishes such as Tandoori, Kaia and Bhuna. Saag (spinach dishes) are not too bad either. Vegetable dishes like Aloo Gobi can be low in calories too
  1. Avoid cream-based curries are high in saturated fat content like Korma, Masala and Dhansak. Better choices are jalfrezi, madras, dupiaza and rogan josh. Leave some of the sauce in the main dish to reduce calories
  1. Choose plain boiled rice. Pilau, biryani or fried rice are very high in fat
  1. Share your starters and go for yoghurt-based dishes. Look for words like oven-baked and grilled