Eating out used to only be done on special occasions. However people’s lives have become busier and eating on the go is now the norm. But how do we choose correctly so we get the nutrition we need to see us through the day. Restaurants and fast food choices luckily now offer plenty of nutritious and energy fuelling options, so eating out can still be healthy. Some nutritional tips to help you order the right foods for you:
Eating Protein and a fruit and Veg based breakfast will leave you feeling satisfied and alert. Have eggs, boiled or poached, fried or scrambled. Add Mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, smoked salmon, avocado and you have a very balanced meal. If you have toast, ask for health, low GI, Sourdough, homemade or rye bread as these give you more energy and sustain you for longer. A cup of coffee or tea can wake you up, however for some people caffeine can leave you feeling anxious and stressed. Herbal tea can help digest your food and leave you feeling energised. If adding sugar to your coffee or tea, try keeping it to half or 1 teaspoon and use sugar rather than sweetener. By avoiding the sugary pastries, muffins, bagels etc. this will prevent the after breakfast sugar blues. Too busy for breakfast? Try soaking some oatmeal in milk or water over night and warm up in the morning, add some nuts and berries and you have an energy packed meal. Low GI or sourdough toast with a nut butter can take 2 minutes.
Try to limit your starchy food, as these will make you feel sleepy. These are pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. Make these foods your side dish and not the main part of the meal. In addition, try making sure these are wholegrain products. Light dishes like chicken, fish, omelettes, sushi, stir-fries, and salads are better than your rich sauce based dishes. Before ordering take into consideration, what you will be having for dinner to avoid hitting your body with two large meals and to balance your diet. A wholegrain sandwich/wrap with a protein, lettuce, tomato, avocado and a little mayo will do the trick. A soup or salad again with protein and veggies or a baked potato is a great choice. Choose a filling that is light on the digestion rather than thick creamy ones.
If you are eating late try eat a snack towards the end of the afternoon to avoid feeling too hungry that you end up eating too much. Again, go for lighter type meals with grilled meats, fish and chicken. Have salads or veggies and keep the starch wholegrain such as rice or potato.
When ordering from specific restaurants here are some tips;
Indian Food- Opt for dishes with a tomato or stock base sauce, chicken and seafood curries with plain rice. Include Dahl and lentil based dishes as they balance the meal. Brown rice is better than white. Creamy sauces are delicious however not often cooked with the right ingredients so rather choose tomato based sauces or breyani.
Chinese- Avoid the MSG by choosing dim sum, steamed fish, chicken, stir-fries, plain rice and vegetables. Avoid the sweet and sour and rich sauces.
Japanese- This is a great option as it is light and healthy. Noodles, sushi, soups, vegetables and stir-fries are all great choices. Stay clear from the tempura if you are watching the calories.
Thai- Thai, like Japanese can be a great choice. Sharing a few small meals can be a great way of dining. Soups, noodles, stir-fries, curries, chicken, seafood, and many vegetable dishes are available. Say no to the prawn crackers and steer away from the chilli curries if you suffer from heartburn. Order plain rice rather than fried rice.
Pizzas- These can be healthy if you choose the right ones. Some can be very fatty as lots of cheese is added. Choose pizzas with bacon, chicken or tomatoes rather than ones with salami and a number of cheeses. Thin crusts are better than thick. Order a side salad or share a pizza and large salad.
Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side.
Order baked, boiled or grilled over fried Add a side salad or steamed veggies
Share a meal and a salad
Loose the bun – ask for lettuce leaves in place of your bun
Grilled chicken and a side salad or veggies is a great go to meal.