5 tips for healthy eating when dining out

Published 19 April, 2024

Social events and eating out can contribute to difficulties in following and sticking to a diet. Studies have also linked dining out with overeating and poor food choices.

However, the social aspect of food is important in many relationships including both personal and professional. Therefore, knowing some simple tips can support you in sticking to the diet and lifestyle you are following.

1. Read the menu before you go

Being aware of what is available before you go to a restaurant can be a great way of reducing the chances of over-indulging. Research also suggests that we are more likely to make unhealthy choices when hungry or distracted.

Remember – preparation is key when changing dietary behaviours!

2. Order before everyone else

Our food choices at the table can be influenced by those we are dining with and their choices. If the company you are with are likely to order something that does not fit in with your healthy choice, avoid temptation and order first before temptation occurs!

3. Find out how the food is cooked

There are many ways that the ingredients of a certain dish can be cooked. For example, foods that have been deep-fried will contain more calories than boiled food.

If food has been battered or breaded (such as fish or chicken) it will contain more carbs than food that hasn’t been battered or breaded. Check with the restaurant staff and you might be able to remove this.

4. Share the experience

For many of us, we typically dine out with friends, colleagues and family. Research in America showed that those who lost weight and kept it off shared their meals. Alternatively, order half a portion for while in the restaurant, and ask for the remaining half to be taken home.

5. Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks

Interestingly, a study showed that the majority of people do not take into consideration the calorie content from sugar-sweetened drinks. A pint of cola can contain over 200kcal. Drinking these drinks has been strongly linked to higher risks of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Try choosing sugar-free alternatives or water as your drink of choice.

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