There have been so many instances when you tried to start eating healthy, and within that same week you had to eat out or go to a function and your commitment to healthy eating went down the drain. So what’s the alternative? Never eat out? Or jeopardize your diet plan each time you need to eat out? Well, there’s a better option: eat smart whenever you eat out. Since we meet and socialize over meals, it makes no sense to cut it out of your life.
Before you go to the function or the restaurant, make sure you aren’t extremely hungry. Have filling foods like fruits (watermelon, muskmelon), sugarless juices, tea or coffee or liquids like chaas or soda. You can also have a good amount of water. It will help to digest the food you are about to have. If you do not get the time to do this, then start your mean with a soup or salad. Caution: do not look at the rest of the menu before you have ordered and had your soup/salad. On a partially filled stomach you can make better decisions about healthy food.
During The Outing
Now that you have your stomach somewhat filled, you can think about the order. Try and keep it to only two carb-rich meals a day. If this is your second meal which allows for carbs, you can eat smart and go for the following options (better yet if you have them after a soup salad): chicken/fish, grilled or roasted, paneer, wheat roti (tandoor roti), one katori rice, multigrain pizza – 2 slices (restrict to one slice if it is not multigrain), whole wheat pasta or pasta salad, egg preparations without yolk, steak and such options. The idea is to find more filling food with less glycemic load: those which can give an instant sugar upsurge. This is present in desserts, maida and starchy food. Go for sugar-less slushes or juices, tea or coffee. Share the dessert so you don’t have more than 2 – 3 spoonfuls. Keep sipping water to feel full.
So despite taking care you may have over-eaten, especially foods with high glycemic index. Now what? Go home and have warm water and fruits or vegetables with fibre and water in order to help digest the complex food. Balance out the excess calories by eating light the next day and/or the next meal. Compensate immediately with exercise or yoga.
Plan your meals such that you do not have more than two meals of carbs and high glycemic index food. Even if you follow that, it does not mean you should eat out every day. Limit eating out to once a week. The reason for this is that there are many hidden fats and carbohydrates when eating outside and it’s best to stay clear of them.
The most important tip of all is to not be let down if you ate out. It takes some time to get the hand of it and eat smart when you are eating outside. You will be there in no time.
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