As you can tell, I received a post request from @VivienAvenue to talk about how to eat out without becoming obese. As a food blogger, it is my duty to eat as much food as possible. Admittedly, it is hard to maintain a certain waistline, but it is possible! Here are my 15 tips to fight off what I like to call… the Foodie 15!
- DRINK WATER: forget about the sodas and alcohol. Whenever I go out, it’s the FOOD that’s my main focus… not the liquids, unless I’m at a smoothie and juice bar. Besides, water will clean your palette, which will make every following byte taste like new.
- REDUCE SUGAR: if you have a serious hankering for a specialty drink, ask for it to be made with less sugar or none at all. Usually, even if the sugar is halved, it’s hardly noticeable. I tend to prefer less sweet drinks, which is why I order 1/4 sweet for my Starbucks iced coffees – the baristas often look at me with a befuddled look. I take it a step further with HK milk teas, and order it without sugar at all.
Also, try to avoid bubble tea as much as possible. Those things are easily packed with +50g of sugar. That’s +200 calories JUST from sugar, never mind all the other stuff in the cup.
- VEGETABLES: most restaurants offer salads or a bunch of vegetables as sides, so go for those. Yes, endless fries seems like a really good deal, but the hidden cost is your waistline. Also, more often than not, the main protein of the dish will be quite heavy, so it’s nice to have some veggies to lighten up the meal.
If you want to take it a step further, order salad as an entree! Recently, I’ve been scanning the salad section of the menu, which I used to never do! Interestingly, there’s a awesome variety of salads. Diners are no longer restricted to just the caesar salad! Just make sure there’s some protein in the salad so you’re not left hungry. My recent discovery was the Okanagan Summer Salad at White Spot, which was made with chargrilled lemon-herb chicken breast, goat cheese, fresh berries, gingered pecans and spinach with a champagne vinaigrette.
- SAUCES ON THE SIDE: say you have a salad, ordering the dressing on the side will give you full control on how much you want to use. Who doesn’t love to take control of their own destiny?! Many chefs are heavy-handed when it comes to the sauce bottle, and there are some people that just don’t realize how many calories are in sauces. For instance, one tablespoon (15ml) of garlic aioli is 83 calories and 9 grams of fat. Holy aioli, that’s a lot.
If you’re ordering a burger/sandwich/eggs benny, just ask them to go easy on the sauce.
- LUNCH OVER DINNER: indulging during lunch is great because it means that you’ll have the rest of the day to burn off all those calories. Having dinner at a restaurant, on the other hand, only leaves you with a few hours left in the day, which you’ll probably spend eating dessert. Also, lunches are usually cheaper :)
- SHARE: don’t always say, “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED” when faced with a plate stacked with food! Be friendly, and share! You get to split the calories AND split the bill, lessening the pressure on your wallet and waistband.
- LEFTOVERS: if you’re really watching your weight, divide the meal up before you even start to eat. One half is for now, the other is for later. This tip stems from the “cook once, eat twice” philosophy, but this time it’s actually “pay once, eat twice.”
- FRUIT: sometimes when I go out, I have this mentality that I’m gonna go all out. I don’t care if I just had a massive steak with mashed potato and bacon, I am going to inhale that ice cream cake! Other times, I realize that I’m coming close to my daily indulgence quota and I decide to get some fruit. Personally, I like to have frozen mango (or any fruit) because it’s like eating popsicles.
- AVOID AYCE: I’m always puzzled as to why people enjoy all-you-can-eat… It may seem cheap, but the quality of food is always subpar. Moreover, AYCE sparks this motivation to eat everything in sight and out of sight. Especially with Japanese AYCE, it’s so easy to overload on carbs due to all of the white rice. Hot pot isn’t much better either because of all the fatty meats. What’s worse is that people tend to cook their vegetables at the END of the meal, with all that nasty meat grease saturating the soup base… those vegetables just become vessels for oil.
- WHOLE GRAIN: white bread is outdated – go for whole grains! Brown bread is quite readily available. However, be careful with multigrain bread because “multigrain” simply means multiple grains; it doesn’t mean that it’s composed of healthy grains. Nevertheless, multigrain is still better than white.
Along those same lines, go for brown rice, quinoa, wild rice etc. Avoid white rice! Yes I know… this particular task is extremely hard to accomplish as Asian dinners, but be strong! Compromise by sharing half of the bowl of white rice.
- STIR FRY OVER DEEP FRY: it’s quite obvious that deep frying added a lot of fat, which is why stir fry is a healthier alternative. Furthermore, because of the shorter cooking time of stir frying, there is more nutrient retention.
Careful of the restaurant lingo that may disguise the words “deep fried” as something else. Anything breaded is almost always deep fried, unless it’s baked. Be a savvy diner and ask your server.
- WALK: seeing as you’re sitting on your bum the entire meal, it’s only reasonable to walk before and after eating. Even though Translink is a pain in the butt, transiting to restaurants can help burn off some calories. Similarly, walk after your meal to help digestion. Whatever you do, DO NOT FALL ASLEEP! FIGHT THAT FOOD COMA.
- CLEAR OVER CREAMY: this tip applies to anything liquid-y, including soups and sauces. Cream soups, in particular, are saturated with fat. Thus, go for clear soups – the ones that won’t coat the back of your spoon like paint. The same goes for sauces.
- LEAN MEAN MEAT: there’s a reason why bodybuilders obsess over chicken breast. It’s because it’s super lean and packed with protein. As a general guideline, pick less fatty meats like poultry or fish.
While you may think that chicken is bland or whatnot, I feel that because it’s flavour is more subtle, chefs can incorporate more flavour into it.
- WORKOUT: calorie in, calorie out. Your body can only burn so many calories while sitting down in front the computer. Instead exercising your index finger with all the scrolling and clicking, treat the rest of your body to a sweat-inducing workout! Burn off that breakfast muffin to burn off that muffin top!