When social occasions come up, trying to stick to your diet plan can be a worry – especially if you are not prepared.
While sometimes it seems like the easiest option just to avoid it, spending time with friends and family and friends is important/
With a little forward planning, you will soon feel at ease and discover the fear of ‘falling off the wagon’ is unnecessary.
Here are some top tips to follow to help you make better choices when eating out:
Do your research
If the restaurant has already chosen, more often than not you can access the menu beforehand online. This means you can plan and pick a few options that might be best for you before the occasion, so you don’t feel pressured or put on the spot when it comes time to make meal choices. Whatever you decide on, have a backup option in case it is not available.
Pay attention to how the food is prepared
Words such as ‘fried’, ‘breaded’ and ‘creamy’ are an indication that the meal will be laden with oil or calorie-dense sauces. Instead look for steamed, boiled or fresh items and consider having all sauces and dressings on the side so you can better control the serving size that you consume. We have put a list of the common food preparations to watch out for in the guide above.
Consider your protein intake
Whatever you order from the menu, make sure protein is the centrepiece of your meal and order a side salad or some vegetables to tick your micronutrient boxes. For example, instead of spaghetti Bolognese where most of the meal will be pasta, opt for a chicken kebab or grilled fish.
Think about liquid calories
Tap water can be a bit of a bore, especially when everyone is having a glass of something stronger. So there is nothing wrong with the occasional diet soda to keep things interesting for yourself.
Eat to satiety
Contrary to popular opinion, you do not have to finish everything on your plate if you are feeling full and satisfied – most restaurants go big on their portion sizes, so be mindful as you eat, enjoy the food and do not overfill yourself.
Remember not all calories are equal. Although it is true that any calorie from food supplies a set amount of energy, that doesn’t mean we should totally disregard the nutritional quality of the food we are eating and focus solely on calories in vs calories out. Here is a guide to helping you when choosing what meal to pick from the menu.