Does being on a diet imply that you can never eat out? Eating healthy when eating out is a challenge faced by all of us. The common belief is that if you want to eat healthily, you have to cook at home for yourself. May be, but it is not necessarily always true.
We all agree that food cooked at home is the best food. There is a reason why ‘ghar ka khana’ is so cherished by everyone. Home food is comfort food, its food that has been customized and more importantly is freshly cooked as per your dietary needs, likes dislikes etc. Having said that, how many of us have the energy to cook a full meal from scratch after coming back home from a long work day? Or, have access to a great cook/kitchen help who can cook delicious yet healthy food for us every day? Not many.
A lot of us young folks don’t even know how to cook, forget the healthy or delicious part of it. So then, what do we do? We eat out or order in. There are many drawbacks to that-
- Eating out is expensive
- Eating at a restaurant breaks two things in one go – your bank and your diet or health goals
- When you order in, you are stuck with the same biryani, rolls, gravy/curry and roti, Chindian, sandwiches. Because, obviously you want to maximize each buck spent.
- Routine eating out leaves you with health issues like acidity, bloating, reflux, indigestion, constipation, flatulence, skin ailments etc.
So what is the way out then? I am not saying that everyone needs to join cooking classes and get cooking, although that would be ideal; but there are some simple tips to keep in mind when you eat out or order your food in –
- Strategize and stick to a plan – If you know you are going to go out with friends on a Friday night, then eat light meals through the day. Similarly, when you happen to have a heavy indulgent lunch, go easy on dinner.
- Choose wisely – Go to a restaurant that has many whole, vegetable filled, healthy options. Check out the menu online and then decide what you are going to have before you reach the restaurant. There is no point in going to a pub with only bar bites and asking for a salad. Be wise, choose wisely.
- Eat ahead – The number one reason for people losing all self-control when they eat out is the fact that by the time they reach the restaurant they are ravenous and on the point of going crazy if they don’t eat something really quick. And unfortunately, most quick food options available then, are deep-fried. When you know that it will be way past your regular dinner time till you reach the pub, it makes sense to eat a vegetable sandwich or a smoothie before you leave home/work. That way you are not ready to ravage whatever food comes in front of you.
- Know basic cooking terms – Ordering from an elaborate menu is no mean feat. You need to know the meaning of basic cooking terms like steamed, grilled, braised, pan fried, roasted, fried, wok-tossed etc. Also, when ordering a salad, always order the dressing on the side so that you can control how much of the dressing you eat. When eating a meat dish like meat steak, opt for veggies instead of mashed potato or French fries.
- Smart ordering in – For the times when you have to order in, opt for home chefs making healthy customized food (like Mealtango 😉 ) or salad subscriptions and health food services rather than going for the regular neighbourhood takeaway centre. There is always a choice available when eating healthy, that choice is completely yours to make. Choose health, as its your body and mind that matters most of all!