WHETHER you’re on a diet or just trying to eat maintenance, eating out alone or with friends, restaurants can be a challenge when you’re stuck to a daily calorie limit.
Here are a few quick tips to get you by without breaking the kcal budget.
First off, go naked
A large part of any burger, wrap or snacks calories comes in the carbs. A prime example would be that soft and dainty bun on either side of your filling. An easy way to knock off a few hundred is to simply say no to such peripheral goodness, and strip that meal down naked. You’ll be left with the core of the nosh and none of the fluff. A direct route to a guilt-free experience that should still be plenty filling. Because everyone’s more conscious of the nutritional value of their food in 2017, restaurants have adapted their menus to provide options for the health-conscious too. For instance, Deliveroo focused a blog article on the healthiest options to takeaway from their service, and they all sound just as yummy as standard, non low-fat and non low-calorie fare. See that naked burrito bowl? Sounds good, right?
Keep drinks to a minimum
Every little bit helps. It all counts, and just because it’s not solid food doesn’t mean it isn’t calories. Dropping that glass of white or red wine for a sparkling water can drastically reduce your calorie intake at a meal out. If you don’t feel like making such a sacrifice, simply be smart about it. Keep things down to one or two glasses and acknowledge that they’re as much a part of the meal as the main itself.
Lose the sides, or swap for salad
Fries, onion rings, several slices of garlic bread – they can all be expensive additions to your main course. If you’re feeling so inclined, politely say no to any add-ons, or swap them out for a healthier option. Exchange said fries for skin-on potato wedges, or perhaps a serving of vegetable rice. Garlic bread could be changed for a light salad to enjoy with your Italian. Another alternative here is to just exercise some good old-fashioned self-control. Get the sides you want, but only eat as much as you feel is appropriate. Share the rest with your fellow diners at the table and know you’re doing your body justice.
Salt and pepper are your friends
The cheapest condiments in terms of calorie count are right there in front of you on the table. Freshly ground pepper and a sprinkle of salt to liven up your meal is all it has to take. Forget ketchup, mayo, a sticky barbecue dip – enjoy the flavours of your food as they were meant to be enjoyed, and savour each bite. Depending on the dish, losing these small extras can really begin to add up, and you might not even notice they’re missing.
Split that dessert
So you’ve already had a main and your calories for the day are counting down. Still, that gelato is tempting. How about the coffee cake? Or a little apple crumble… Fear not! For there are ways to make it work within your numbers. Split that dessert right down the middle with a pal and its calorie content becomes much more manageable. See: a 450 kcal portion of vanilla cheesecake slimmed all the way down to just 225 each. Perfect.
Alright, time to count up the bill
With all the above said and done, eating out whilst on a diet or whilst simply trying to be a little bit kinder to your body doesn’t have to be boring. It’s all about compromise. Lose the sides and add drinks or vice versa, go naked with your burger but forget the mayo covering the bun – whatever you choose to do, stick to it and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.