With Christmas parties and> meals coming up I thought it might be an idea to look into ways you can stay healthy whilst eating out. Obviously we want to enjoy ourselves occasionally but I know I don’t always want to undo all the hard-work I’ve been putting in at the gym so I do try and> eat healthily when I eat out. I am not a dietician or fully qualified nutritionist but I do have an understand>ing of healthy living and> hope you can put some of my ideas/tips into practice over the coming weeks and> in the future.

The Basics – I have added some tips you can put into practice whatever the restaurant or type of cuisine, these are good ways of reducing your overall calorie intake.

Choose lean meats – such as chicken (without skin) or fish, avoid pies, bacon and> sausages.
Opt for tomato based sauces not sauces based on cream or cheese.
Go for steamed or boiled rice, baked or boiled potatoes without added salt or butter.
Ask for vegetables and> salad to be served plain or with the dressing served on the side.
Ask for salt not to be added during cooking.
Say no to bread or nibbles which arrive before your meal.
Plan ahead – if you can look on-line at the menu this may help you make sensible choices and> some restaurants may have calorie details on their websites.
Wait until after your meal before you order a dessert, and> opt for fruit salads or sorbets over cakes and> ice cream.

OK so the basics cover things you can aim to do regardless of the restaurant type, but I have also listed some “healthier” options for specific cuisine choices below:

Chinese
Try to avoid anything deep fried, prawn toast, spring rolls, battered pork/chicken balls, fried rice dishes.
Opt for boiled rice, steamed dumplings, crab and> corn soup, chicken chop suey, szechaun prawns, steamed or stir fried dishes.

Indian
Try to avoid beef or lamb dishes, cream based curries such as korma, naan bread, pilau rice, mango chutney
Opt for vegetable, chicken or prawn dishes, boiled rice, tand>oori chicken, chappati
*Try to spoon meat onto plate and> leave sauce behind, helping to reduce the calories of the overall meal*

Italian
Try to avoid large deep pan pizzas, pizzas with stuffed crusts, triple cheese or high fat meats such as pepperoni, sausage, creamy sauces and> garlic bread.
Opt for small pizzas (or split in half straight away and> ask for half to be boxed), vegetable toppings, tomato based sauces, bruschetta

Mexican
Try to avoid nachos, refried beans, chimichangas, and> hard tacos which will be fried
Opt for grilled meals such as chicken fajitas, but focus on the filling and> limit the amount of tortillas, go for salsa and> a small amount of guacamole over cheese and> sour cream.

Thai
Try to avoid fried rice, fishcakes, spring rolls, prawn crackers, satay skewers with peanut sauce and> sweet and> sour dishes.
Opt for clear soups, stir fried or steamed dishes

So that is food covered what about drinks, opt for a spirit and> low calorie mixer over beer and> wine and> try and> alternate between water or another soft drink and> alcoholic beverages. Wine is a better choice than beer and> opt for the drier varieties as they tend to have a few less calories per glass.

I hope this helps over the coming weeks and> gives you some ideas of how to try and> reduce your calorie intake when eating out. We all like a treat but sometimes these events come thick and> fast and> too many treats are not good for us as the old saying goes “YOU CAN’T OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET!”.