You’re eating clean, training hard, you’re in control of your diet and you’re on track to your health goals. Then you get invited to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday and now you have to figure out how to enjoy your night out without derailing your lifestyle!
One option is always to indulge, but to plan to indulge. Put your evening’s excess in your diary ahead of time and work to minimise the impact with exercise and controlling your intake throughout the week to balance it all out.
If that’s not an option for your fitness goals, no problem, here’s a battle plan for you to follow:
Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions: Salad or seasonal vegetables rather than fries, skipping the cheese, having the burger without the bun… there’s plenty you can do to make dishes healthier, and most establishments are willing to be flexible.
Focus on fish: As long as it’s not fried, fish is a great choice for a healthy main course and is usually rich in protein, vitamins and good fatty acids.
Sauces and dressings can be secret weapons for diet sabotage: They’re too often filled with calorie-heavy oils or sugars, so ask for them on the side and use them sparingly.
Consider ordering an appetiser as your main course: By design starters are less substantial than main dishes, so consider having a starter dish as an entrée with a side of vegetables. Once you’re full of veggies, you won’t be craving the big main meal quite so much.
Ignore the bread, keep the butter: While the bread is full of starch and empty calories, milk and butter get a bad reputation when it comes to health; butter especially is associated unfairly with being overweight. Butter is, however, rich in vitamins and good cholesterol and in moderation is good for you.
Don’t trust the menu implicitly, especially when it comes to the ‘healthy’ section of their menu: Chefs will do their best to make tasty, healthy food, but it doesn’t mean it’s right for your specific health goals. Ask questions about contents and preparation if you’re not sure or the menu isn’t clear.
Share your meals with others: Sharing dishes with friends can give you the option of controlling what and how much you eat without having to make a fuss over substitutions.
There’s an almost shocking amount of calories and carbs in alcohol, so skip the plonk: While you’re at it, you probably want to avoid the dessert menu as well!
Look up the restaurant online before you go and try to put your plan of action together. This will allow you to plan a healthy meal and get all your substitution questions in order so you’re ready to blaze through them when it’s your time to order.
Lastly, enjoy yourself!