Your ultimate guide to dining out
With the weekend coming up many of you will be venturing out to a restaurant to relax after a hard week at work. Depending on your level of nutritional development, some of you will be weighing out your food to be as specific as you can be. However, most of you will not be this specific when controlling your intake. When dining out it is a certainty that no one will be able to, with 100% accuracy, track the content of the food.
Usually people have 2 options at this point, either take the fear of failure away and stay at home, not socialising with family and friends, or the complete opposite. This can be a stage when people forget about their goals and enjoy themselves without knowing the content of what they’re eating/drinking.
There is however, a method for you to use to do both, enjoy the company of your friends and family and maintain a certain degree of adherence to your nutrition plan while dining out.
Plan your meal before you go
With all the options available to you, most restaurants now have the nutritional information of their meals online for you to observe. With this information available to you, planning your meal into your daily/weekly requirements make controlling your intake so much easier!
It is now up to you to work out which food fits into your current diet.
Make it simple
As you will have seen, some smaller restaurants will not have all the nutritional information on their website.
This, again shouldn’t leave you panicking about what to choose from the menu. You can still make smart decisions that will help you stick to your diet.
The simple part to this is choosing a meal that has few components to it. An example would be choosing a meal which includes a portion of meat, vegetables and a side of potatoes or rice (probably best to stay off the chips on this one).
It is also best to ask for the sauce to be placed on the side. In many recipes, the increased calorie content is hidden within the sauce, therefore try limit the amount of sauce you eat.
When choosing a meal such as this it is a lot easier to calculate the number of calories within it. A cut of beef with vegetables and baked potatoes is a lot easier to track than a beef stroganoff.
Selecting your courses
Obviously during your meal there is temptation to eat all 3 courses, realistically this would drastically increase the calorie content of the meal (don’t worry we’ve all been there!). With this in mind, 2 courses are the maximum! No more. This will give the variety you need within your diet and enjoying yourself while still sticking to your diet as accurately as possible.
So, picking your main course and either one from the starters or dessert. Again, with a similar rule to above, try and make it as simple as possible to track. A fruit salad with a scoop of ice cream is a lot easier to track than a slice of chocolate cake, chocolate sauce and double cream. However, adherence in the long term is our objective, therefore whatever you can stick with long term and which is within your daily calorie amount is great.
Plan your intake
With you now knowing what you are likely to eat at the restaurant you are now able to fit your meal into your daily intake. You will now know the remaining calories you have to play with for the rest of the day.
With meals out usually containing high fats and carbohydrates I would recommend increasing your protein content and vegetable content during your other meals during the day.
When you’ve planned your day ahead you can now go out and enjoy yourself without fretting over what the best meal choice is and if this will spoil the great results you are getting.
Don’t let loose on the alcohol
We all like to have a drink but it’s important for moderation!
It is well known that most alcoholic drinks contain a substantial number of calories, this doesn’t help when a couple of glasses of wine can add up to 400kcal!! Not only does the calorie content of the alcohol an issue but also the decision-making process once we’ve had them. Willpower can waiver substantially and your plan for the evening may go out the window.
Selecting an alcoholic drink that is low calorie is advisable over a heavy beer or calorific cocktail.
Therefore, 1 drink during your meal will not overly harm your calorie intake and also enjoy your evening.
The overriding message from this is that simple steps can be taken for you to enjoy an evening out with your family and friends while still progressing towards your end goal.
Why not give this a go the next time you eat out and let me know how it went on!