6 May 2008

How to Eat in Restaurants When You're On A Diet

Eating in restaurants or hotels, or buying takeaway food needn’t mean the end of your diet. You can eat healthily in restaurants and when you're ordering take outs - you just need to know what to eat and what to miss.

So, What Are The Rules When I'm.......

Dining Out

1. Read the menu well - don't just scan it for the most delicious thing you can see.
Act like a celebrity and don't be afraid to ask how meals are cooked.
2. In general, choose lean meats, fish and poultry and ask for them to be grilled, roasted or baked rather than fried or sautéed. 
3. Opt for steamed, boiled or roasted vegetables and salads. Avoid frying - if your vegetables have been fried, they are no longer much use to you (fries, tempura etc)
4. Always ask for sauces to be served on the side and to ask for a little olive oil or lemon on salads rather than dressings, which can be very fatty.
5. Look for tomato and vegetable based sauces rather than those made with cream or cheese.
6. If rice or noodles are on the menu, pick boiled or steamed rather than fried or pilau varieties. A serving of boiled rice has 0.47g fat. A portion of pilau rice has 7g fat!
7. It’s often very healthy to opt for fish or chicken and salad or vegetables. If you are vegetarian look for bean, nut, chickpea, egg or lentil options (and try not to just have cheese based meals).
8. Hotel breakfasts can be a challenge – but having a poached or boiled egg on whole grain bread is a good option – perhaps with some fruit juice or a piece of fruit. Otherwise, a low sugar cereal or muesli with a natural yogurt is a healthy option.

...Having A Take Out

1.Chinese, choose starters such as the grilled dumplings and opt for vegetable based sauces and vegetarian or low fat main courses e.g. chicken/bean curd in black bean sauce or noodles, bean sprouts and courgettes in a spicy sauce. For desserts try fresh fruit such as lychees. Try to avoid deep fried options such as fried pancake or spring rolls, banana fritters as well as egg-fried rice.
2. Indian it's best to pick tomato and onion sauces or dry cooked dishes e.g. tandoori or opt for vegetarian options with lentils and boiled rice. Try to avoid fried options such as bhajis, samosas and fried rice and rich creamy sauces e.g. kormas.
3.Thai avoid deep fried starters and always choose a vegetable side dish. A fish option is a healthy choice or a chicken and vegetable dish. Coconut milk is a saturated fat – so avoid having multiple dishes with a rich coconut sauce.
4.Italian, choose pasta dishes with vegetable and tomato based sauces or fish with vegetables or salads. If you are having pizza opt for vegetarian pizzas and salads. Generally try to avoid pasta with creamy or cheese sauces or pizzas with lots of cheese or cooked fatty meats. If ordering pizza, it's best to opt for vegetarian pizzas and order a salad.

Photograph by paper or plastic (Flickr)

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