Family celebrations, birthday parties, weddings, dinner with friends, and other social events… they are so much fun! But they can also be very stressful when it comes to healthy eating. Your body can easily handle eating out 1 or 2 times per week, but if you are forced to do it more often it may have a negative impact on your digestion, body shape and overall health. But we are social creatures and sitting at home alone could be more harmful for us anyway. So don’t worry, I got you covered! Let’s take a look at how you can have a good time and still make healthy food choices when you are eating out.
- Have a healthy snack before.
Having a protein snack 2-3 hours before the event you are attending will help you to keep your stomach fuller and prevent overeating later. You can have a simple handful of raw unsalted nuts with a piece of your favorite fruit or veggie sticks with hummus or ricotta.
- Order an extra salad or veggies.
Go fresh and eat your greens first! Ordering an extra salad or steamed veggies as a side dish is a perfect way to balance your meal. You can never go wrong with it! Eat your veggies first to fill your empty stomach, get the essential fiber, vitamins and minerals, and then enjoy your main meal.
- Choose grilled or baked instead of fried.
Avoid fried or deeply fried food and get excited about grilled or baked. You usually can’t know what type of oil they use to prepare your meal. Swapping your fish and chips for grilled fish with baked potatoes and salad is a healthier and tastier option.
- Choose wholegrain if possible.
Enjoy the goodness of entire grain in wholesome food! It has a higher nutritional value than high refined variants. It is another way of making your meal a little bit healthier. Choose wholegrain options such as brown or wild rice, wholegrain pasta, whole meal bread or quinoa, and load your body with fiber and essential micro nutrients.
- Order sauces and dressings on the side.
Ask that sauces and dressings be served on the side so you can choose if you want to eat them and in what amount. The best options are vinaigrette, balsamic, herbs, lemon dressings or a bit of chili peppers. Try to avoid mayonnaise-based ones and sauces high in added sugar and salt, such as ketchup, BBQ sauce or sweet chili.
- Skip unhealthy party foods on the tables.
Avoid eating party goodies such as chips, crisps, crackers, chocolate, candies, lollies etc. It is so easy to overeat with these foods which will give you very low nutritional values. Choose raw unsalted or dry roasted nuts, fresh or dried fruit or veggie stick, and rice crackers with hummus, avocado or beetroot dips if possible.
- Have a glass of water.
Always have a glass of water on the table so you can grab it when you are thirsty. Ditch soft drinks which are packed with sugar and other artificial additives. Adequate amount of water will hydrate your body and keep you fresher. If you take an alcoholic drink, have a glass of water with it! It may help you to drink less alcohol, stay hydrated, and prevent subsequent headache.
- Share your dessert.
Yum! Occasional dessert is completely alright, so go for it with no guilty thoughts, and treat yourself to something yummy! Having a piece of cake is better for your health than “I can eat it” thoughts. Giving yourself a treat occasionally will prevent binge eating in the future. And if you want, you can share your dessert with your loved one. You both will enjoy it!