What to select when you are at your favorite restaurant that will help you lose weight and maintain or improve your body shape? What small changes could you make when thinking of ordering your preferred/regular dishes in order to reach that perfect shape you always wanted?
These are important questions to consider whenever you are eating out. So, here are some tips that are very easy to implement and can make a lot of difference when trying to lose weight:
1. Say no to high fat foods and ask for no usage of processed fat in the preparation of your meals
Avoid ordering a meal which is high in fat and calories. Fat always accumulates in the belly and is associated with heart disease and breast cancer. The nutritious fat sources include nuts, olive oil, avocados and salmon. Such products do not require addition of fat during cooking and that is why you should specifically ask for no usage of processed fat in the preparation of your meal when ordering them.
2. Revise your vocabulary
The vocabulary to be used when you are eating out is important if you want to lose weight. Get used to using “low fat” when asking for something instead of not saying anything. Ask the chef to recommend a low fat version of what you want to eat (order veal or chicken instead of pork etc.).
3. Avoid junk food and fast food restaurants
When you fell like eating out, select a restaurant instead of a fast food corner. If you are concerned about your budget, fear not, as there are a lot of cheaper restaurants nowadays or go to a fancy restaurant and select a cheaper dish. Whatever you do, the fast food option should not exist for you if you really want to lose weight. We all know the reasons for this, but I would just like to point out a few of them: products packed with calories (a burger + fries + drink can easily exceed 1,000 calories, more than half of the total number of calories you need for the whole day); high cholesterol content; large portions – most of the time you eat more than you need etc.
4. Shy away from heavy alcohol consumption when eating out if you really want to lose weight
Alcohol makes the body function differently due to the chemicals contained. Consuming alcohol will increase your appetite, will slow your brain activity (you will forget your objectives or just stop caring) etc. Did you know that alcohol also has calories (a pint of beer can have up to 150-200 calories) but does not have any nutritional value!?! Also, here are some interesting tips to remember about alcohol: alcohol from cold drinks is absorbed slower as compared warm drinks and the higher the concentration of alcohol the quicker alcohol is absorbed in your body.
If you want to have a drink, drink a glass of red wine. Research has proven that red wine has various health benefits like: reducing the risk of blood clots, preventing heart diseases, preventing damage to blood vessels and helping maintain the correct blood pressure.
5. Look for the right mix between fibers, vitamins, minerals and proteins
In order to lose weight, you could combine for example, whole grains with vegetables. Vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes and mushroom are the type that should be available in all restaurants. These have higher fiber content and increase fullness and satisfaction, thus making you eat less and lose weight.
6. No extra salt
You should definitely reduce the quantity of salt in your food. You could ask the chef not to always add table salt to the food but instead to use basil and garlic to add flavor. A high sodium diet leads to high blood pressure and other heart related diseases. Also, salt has the effect of retaining water in your body. Ask for less salt in your food and consider eating whole grain bread (100-130 g of sodium or less in one slice) instead of white bread (150-200 g of sodium in one slice).
7. You need your proteins
Invest in a diet with the right level of proteins as they help in the muscle building process and muscles help in the burning of calories. Some of the best sources are white meat (chicken or turkey), fish (salmon), other low fat meat products and dairy products.
Fruits contain healthy nutrients necessary for the body. Normally, there should be a two-three hours window after the previous meal before eating fruits. Sometimes it’s better not to combine fruits with other foods in order to prevent indigestion and bloat. They can be eaten as an appetizer as they provide satisfaction for hunger. A lot of nutritionists recommend eating fruits at the beginning of the meal, not at the end, as fruits increase your metabolism.
9. Eating from smaller plates can make a lot of difference
The quantity of food one consumes is dictated by the size of the plates in the restaurant. We often hear “I eat everything from my plate”. The lesser the size of the plates and glasses, the less you will eat and drink. Therefore, don’t go to the restaurant which serves large portions, but go to the one where the portions are medium but the food is good and full of flavor. This is or should be the main reason for eating out, right!?! better food, full of flavor, feel special etc. This will definitely help you reach your perfect shape.
10. Don’t forget – breakfast is the first meal of the day
If you are planning to eat out for lunch or dinner, don’t forget about breakfast – the most important meal of the day. Breakfast will provide your body with the energy to start your day. Without breakfast you will starve and will count the seconds till lunch or dinner. When this happens, you forget that you want to lose weight and you will eat more than you should at lunch or dinner. Also, you could mess-up your whole plan and meal schedule as you will fell the need for some snacks between meals.
11. Water is your friend
Water is the best drink when eating out. It will help you lose weight and it does not influence the taste of food (what’s the point of eating a special dish if you combine it with a sugar packed sweet soda?). Order water when eating joint. Water is essential as it plays an important role in maintaining a balanced diet since it is utilized in the digestive system.
12. If possible, walk to the restaurant
Especially if you go out with your colleagues, friends etc. walking to the restaurant will serve multiple purposes. Will allow you to lighten your mood after work, networking, catch up on things, joke etc. and will also cut down some calories. Walking after a meal also helps with the digestion processes. So, if you can, do it! leave your car/bicycle in the parking space and start walking.