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If you follow the celebs on social media, you must have seen their charming photos coming out of the restaurant almost every alternate day. You must be wondering how can they stay slim, lean, fit, well built even after frequent eating out. Here are the 16 most effective and doable tips for healthy eating out. So check the blog till the end.

Impossible. Probably this is the word that comes to your mind when someone says eating out can be healthy yet fun. After all, how can soup and salad be fun? Or, drinking alcohol/ eating yummy desserts be healthy? Right? Wrong.  Healthy eating out while having fun is possible by following the formula QQF – quality, quantity, and frequency just like models, movie stars, or even players.

Eating out is rare for me – I want to enjoy while eating out

Are you from this category? Do you think it is too much to think about health while eating out with friends? Do you know “eating out” is not only “eating by going out” but also “eating through ordering out”. After all, all these outside foods finally settle in your stomach and give various belly shapes – apple/ pear…..Right?
While thinking of “eating out”, not just restaurant visits, do consider the number of orders you place in a month. What’s the count now?

Tips for healthy eating out

Eating out is for celebration – what to do?

How many times do such celebrations happen in a month? 4-5 times- including your restaurant visits and ordering food outside? Celebrate your small success or satisfy the craving for any particular food through cooking at home. Cooking with friends is fun, healthy, cost-effective and helpful to build a “we feeling” which is particularly missing in today’s world. Eating out should only be associated with some special celebration.

Tips for healthy eating out yet have fun-

Tips for healthy eating out 1. Plan your eating out – Choose “fine dine” over the “buffet”

Most of the time celebs go to a restaurant for meeting friends where eating is not the primary agenda. So If you can’t control overeating, avoid casual dining out. Limit your restaurant visit only for some special occasion. Celebrating special occasion need planning. Always choose a “fine dine” over buffet restaurants. Check their rating, menu options online. Buffet restaurants sometimes may look pocket-friendly but there is a 100% chance of eating way too extra. So stay away from their lucrative offers. Focus on quality than quantity. Remember you are already saving a lot by not visiting restaurants frequently, so spending a little extra on a special occasion does not actually cost you much.

Tips for healthy eating out 2. Don’t plan just eating out- add something more

Do not only go for eating out. Have another plan attached to this. It could be a walk or light dance or some physical activity along with eating. Remember it’s a special occasion, a long walk after dinner is definitely gives you more opportunity to spend quality time with your friends or family.

Tips for healthy eating out 3. Don’t go hungry

Do not go to a restaurant empty stomach. Eat something light before leaving the house. It will help you to enjoy the ambiance and eat mindfully.

Tips for healthy eating out 4. Do not touch the bread basket

If you are visiting any continental restaurants, getting a “free” breadbasket at the beginning is common. Avoid that. You are not visiting the restaurant to eat bread and butter. So do not load yourself with that unnecessary calories.

Tips for healthy eating out - Order less

Tips for healthy eating out 5. Order a bowl of soup and salad first

Having soup before the main meal is a good idea to control overeating. Vegetable broth or chicken /meat broth along with vegetables is the choice to go for. Check for the salads variety available in the restaurant. If you find something interesting, don’t hesitate to order. Be careful of the salad dressing. Prefer simple dressing over any creamy base.

Tips for healthy eating out 6. Enjoy the ambiance

Why are you paying so much extra while eating at a restaurant? It is the ambiance you are paying for. Right? So enjoy the ambiance, the music, the service rather than only concentrating on food. Don’t ruin the mood by checking your phone repeatedly. Virtual space is overpowering normal face-to-face conversation. So start talking, instead of texting.

Tips for healthy eating out 7. Enjoy the food

You are not in a food competition. So relax. Food is here and will be here. Go slow on food. Don’t just gorge on food. Chew your food. Enjoy every small bite. Appreciate the taste.

Tips for healthy eating out 8. Order drink mindfully

Avoid ordering any sugary drinks. Most of the fancy mocktails are a mixture of spices, fruit juice concentrates, and sugar syrup. If you plan to order some non-alcoholic drink then stick to actual fruit juice or lemon water without any added sugar.

If you are interested to order an alcoholic drink, order something simple. Choose water/ ice/ tonic water or club soda as the co-part of the drink. Avoid cocktails or adding coke/ sprite/ Fanta/ synthetic fruit juice along with the alcohol.

Tips for healthy eating out 9. No binge drinking

If you are reading this blog, I assume you are in your mid-twenties and more. Am I right? If yes, then gone are those days when drinking competition used to thrill you. You have probably already done that, been there. So relax. You have matured enough to understand masculinity or coolness does not actually depend on the number of shots you can have at one go. Social drinking is absolutely fine as long as you can enjoy it without disturbing anyone. So drink sensibly and remember there is nothing healthy about drinking. Yes, not even by drinking red wine.

Tips for healthy eating out  - go for starter or main course

Tips for healthy eating out 10. Starter or main course

Yes, instead of going for a starter and main course, choose anyone. Either order two types of starters and share with others, or straight order the main course. If you are having starters, then think twice before ordering the main course. If you are hungry and want more food, then it is best to share the main course with someone else.

Tips for healthy eating out 11. Check the cooking method

These days restaurants offer various styles of cooking. You need to choose a health and taste-friendly option out of it. Generally, a brief of the preparation is written on the menu card. Read the menu. If not, then do not hesitate to ask for the details. Focus on “grilled”, “boiled”, “braise”, “steamed” options rather than “pan-fried”, “au gratin”, “buttery”, “sauteed”, “cheese sauce”, “scalloped”, “with milk, ice cream or cheese”.

Tips for healthy eating out 12. Choose red over white

Choose tomato or vegetable-based sauce over cheese or creamy base. It will help to check the calorie and also ensure eating vegetables.

Tips for healthy eating out 13. Share and share

Having a personal food choice is great, but try to adjust your choice with others. Avoid placing orders individually. Ask about the portion size before placing an order. Try to share the dish with someone.

eating out 2

Tips for healthy eating out 14. Drink water in between

Don’t forget to keep sipping water before, after, and in between eating or drinking. This will help you to keep hydrated and full and control overeating.

Tips for healthy eating out 15. Think thrice before ordering desserts

So far you were fine, absolutely on track. Had your soup, salad, may have shared the main course also. But ordering dessert is enough to ruin your entire health goal. So stay alert. Neither one nor twice, think thrice before ordering any dessert. If you really feel like ordering, order only one and share with everybody. A spoonful of dessert is much better than having an entire bowl.

Tips for healthy eating out 16. Pack the excess

Your first goal is to order a little less than usual. In case if you have placed some extra orders, don’t stuff yourself. Don’t hesitate to ask for packing the extra portion.

Tips in case you are in a buffet restaurant

Avoid going for a buffet as much as possible especially when you have the authority to choose the restaurant. If it is unavoidable then be very alert and mindful while eating. People generally keep stuffing until they are unable to move. Don’t do such a mistake. Food is there and will be there. So relax.

Don’t pile your plate – go for only 3

• Before you start taking food, just stroll once the entire buffet counter and check the menu.
• Select only 3 items as per your choice. It can be one starter, one main course, and one dessert or two starters one main course – any combination of 3 as per your choice.
• Whatever be your combination, avoid taking more than one from the dessert section.
• Taste the food before taking the first helping. If you like, take one helping extra.
• Wasting food is not acceptable anywhere even if you are paying for it. So think twice before taking any food on the plate.

Being a foodie, self-control standing in the middle of a buffet is difficult, but not impossible. Practice will make you perfect one day. So keep trying.

Tips for ordering out

• Delete food delivery apps – stop going crazy on discounts

Delete all your food delivery apps. Then at least even if you have a craving you need to walk out of your place to get this. Right? Jokes apart, keep only one food delivery app on your phone.
Delete the app which gives you maximum offers and discounts. More discount you will avail more money you will spend over a medical bill. Tips for ordering out

• Share share share

Always find your partner to share the food before ordering.

Tips for healthy eating out  - delete food apps

How frequently eating out is fine?

Eating out includes both eating by going out as well as ordering outside food. Limit your casual restaurant visit and ordering food to only once a month. Sounds impossible, especially looking at your current frequency? Okay, let’s go slow. Start keeping an account of how much you are spending each month on eating out. Try to reduce the frequency and expenditure both to half in the next month. Eventually, you will be there. Don’t worry. These are a gradual process and will take time. Just make the effort.

I can balance “extra” calorie next week?

Sure. But once you have a tendency to binge during eating out, eating less for the next few days may not be a sustainable choice. Balancing calorie by starving may help you to control weight, but depriving the body of quality nutrition is not a smart choice. Good nutrition is essential to repair the damage you have made through overeating. So the best thing you can do is, not eat any “extra”.

Also, read – How to control eating junk

Step by step Indian diet guideline for weight loss

Bottom Line

Eating out includes both going outside to eat and ordering outside foods. Eating out is fun. But try to make it extra fun by reducing the frequency. Focus on the formula QQF- quality, quantity, and frequency. Concentrate on – good quality, moderate quantity, and less frequency. Try following the tips for healthy eating out .

Avoid eating out with a frequent excuse for a celebration. Home cooking, especially with a group of friends, is a fantastic idea to celebrate small successes or relieve stress. It is healthy, inexpensive, fun, and a great way to satisfy any particular food craving. So try this frequently instead. Save your eating out for some special occasion.

Your favorite celeb (movie star/ model/ player)visit restaurants frequently but they do not gorge on food for sure. There is no secret about it. Do not check only their restaurant look, check their gym look too. Quality food, enough activity, moderate exercise should go hand in hand. Eating and only brain exercise would not help you in any way. The drill is simple. Repeat the formula QQF once again. While eating out, focus on good quality, eat-in moderate quantity, and keep the frequency as less as possible. All you need to do is eat mindfully.

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty is based in Hyderabad. She has 15 yrs of working experience in nutrition. She guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve goals for wellness. She believes in a practical diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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