Winter has come to an end and hibernation season is over. We head into Summer and start eating out more, and let’s face it - probably start drinking more too! This leaves us in a bit of a dilemma, as we are still wanting to look good on the beach. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?
Healthier food choices are available in most restaurants as we become more and more health conscious. We are even getting low fat options at fast food spots, such as salads instead of fries, and opting for grilled instead of fried.
Here are 12 top tips to help make those healthier choices:
1. Know your restaurants
It makes it easier when the healthier choices are available. Try doing a bit of research by finding some online menus. All it takes is some Googling (or looking on Food24!) to find easy-to-track-down, tasty and healthy and restaurants.
2. Try not to arrive at a restaurant starving
Sticking to your 5 smaller meals in the day, will help prevent you reaching a level of hunger where you can make the wrong food choices or overeat. Including a light snack can help before you go to a restaurant or party, as to not ruin your appetite, but rather leaving you at a hunger level where you can make a healthier food choice.
3. Save your appetite
You are about to have a delicious meal, so avoid filling up on the bread that's put on the table. You can even ask the waiter to take it away, or not even bring it to your table. On arrival try ordering a big glass of water instead. If you choose bread with a light meal and a salad, ask for rye bread, as this is lower in calories and GI.
4. Listen to your body
If the portion size is too much for you, it’s OK to leave food on your plate. It can be difficult as we have been conditioned to finish everything on our plates. But practice makes perfect. Test it out! See if you can leave some food on your plate.
5. Eating Slowly
This tip really helps you listen to your body as to when you have had enough to eat. It requires awareness which might need some practice. Enjoy your mouthful and savour it.
6. Remember the ‘doggie bag’
There is always the faithful ‘doggie bag’, if you do have any food leftover you can keep it for the next day.
7. More than one course
If there is more than 1 course, remember to listen to your satiety levels. You don’t need to finish each plateful. Sharing can also help and then you can get the added benefit of trying a greater variety.
8. Drink water
This is the best option when it comes to ‘what should I drink?’ Even if you do order something else, try and also include a glass or two of water.
9. What else to drink?
Keep it single and cold – opt for lots of ice. Steer clear from mixers, all drinks can be done with soda water or water. Try it – maybe you like it, add a few slices of lime or lemon see if that helps.
10. Beware to dress
Don’t dress your salad to kill. Keep it simple ad keep the dressing on the side. Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice are your best options.
11. A healthy plate
The battle of grilled vs fried, vegetables/salad vs fries, tomato based sauces vs creamy sauces.
12. Sharing is caring
If you can’t resist having a dessert, go for it and share, you can share with the whole table. Everyone can have a small taster.
Being healthy is about listening to your body, not about feeling like you’re on a diet. If we can practice that then we start working towards a healthy lifestyle. Even if you think you’ve overindulged, one meal isn’t going to make you unhealthy. But not listening to our bodies and overeating will, as this becomes a habit.
*If you're cooking at home, you might want to check out our 7 meals to eat before you go bikini shopping, or Food24's popular top 15 skinny jeans recipes.
By registered dieticians, Sarah Gouws and Rochez O'Grady of Munchwize.