Healthy dining out: Is it possible?

We don’t need to highlight the difficulties that so many people have when it comes to dieting. Losing weight is one thing – but keeping it off permanently is another.

When you start to throw dining out into the equation, things suddenly become even more difficult. After all, this is where yet even more temptations enter the picture, and many of us will simply cave in. It doesn’t matter where in the world we are, from Covent Garden to the cafes of Rome, the same principles apply.

Bearing in mind, if you are attempting to stick to a strict dieting schedule but still want to retain the social buzz of dining out at restaurants, here is our advice on how you should achieve it.

Find out the calorie content of the food before visiting

In other words, do your research. We’re now in an era where restaurants by law, have to be open about what’s in their dishes, and while they might not display the number of calories on their main menu, they will have other documents that showcase it.

In an ideal world, you would be conducting this research before you visit. You need to know what you can have and what’s off (your personal) menu. If you can get this into your head before visiting your restaurant of choice, you’ll soon find that the risk of being seduced by all of those delicious temptations is suddenly much lower.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

As we’ve already alluded to, all restaurants must be able to tell you what ingredients they use, and if you’re still unsure about what’s in the food, don’t be afraid to ask.

For example, if you’re ordering a steak, ask whether it’s been marinated in anything or if it’s been cooked in any additional oil. If you’re ordering a salad, ask whether they have used any extra oil in the dressing.

At this point, we should also highlight that different establishments will prepare dishes differently. In other words, just because a dish shares the same name across restaurants, don’t for a moment think that it is cooked the same and, as such, contains the same number of calories.

Order a starter rather than a main course

If you’re going out with friends or family, it’s likely that you’ll be ordering a main course and a side dish anyway. But, if you’re dining alone, you could order a starter and then just ask for the main course to be served without the side dish.

This is a good way of cutting down on the number of calories that you’re taking on board and will also help to reduce your overall bill too.

Share a main course with a friend

If you’re ordering a main course that is particularly large, it can be a good idea to share it with someone else. This is particularly relevant if you’re dining with friends or family as you can share the cost of the meal and also share the food. Will this work for everyone? Absolutely not. However, understand that there’s no ‘correct way’ to dine, and when it comes to dining out whilst dieting, anything goes. You make the rules up.