For those of us who are socially blessed, eating both lunch and dinner, and even breakfast away from the home can be a fairly standard weekly routine. What may start with a breakfast meeting will then we followed by lunch on the run before dinner and drinks at a social function or conference. This can become a complete calorie overload and result in some nasty weight gain if we are not careful. There are though, some people who manage this social lifestyle beautifully, never gaining a kg, and this is how they do it.
If you consider that the average meal at a café or restaurant will contain at least 30% if not closer to 50% more calories than a meal you would prepare at home, you can see the need to be extremely careful with your choices if you eat out regularly.
First and foremost, you need to consider that if eating out is part of your work rather than a special occasion, it means that eating out does not mean eating extras. Often we mentally “let go” of our self-imposed diet rules simply because we are out. If you would not usually eat cake, dessert or fried foods at home, you do not need them just because you are eating out. Mentally divide day to day eating occasions from “special” days, events and outings when you may indulge in higher calorie foods you would not usually eat. For most of us, this means keep the weekdays relatively strict so we can indulge a little more on weekends.
Next, remember your basic food rules. For your meals this means protein, a little good quality carbs and lots of vegetables or salad. With few exceptions you should be able to find this nutrient balance no matter where you find yourself eating at. It simply means ordering an omelette for breakfast instead of pancakes, a wrap instead of Asian stir fry or pasta for lunch and steak and salad for dinner rather than a steak and chips as you may naturally be inclined to do. Order extra salad or vegetables where you can, drink only water or soda and eliminate as many processed white carbs from thick breads, rice dishes and fried potato as you can. Keep your alcohol intake during the week to a minimal and if you feel like you must have a drink, try and alternate it with sparking water. It may also be useful to remember that wine glasses can be easily topped up, so keep a close eye on exactly how much you are drinking.
Finally but perhaps most importantly, try to never arrive at an event or function starving. Chances are that high fat, higher calorie foods that you would not usually eat will be served, and if you are extremely hungry, you will eat them. Just 5 traditional canapés including mini quiches and tarts contain the calorie equivalent of an entire meal so always limit yourself to just 2-3 at any event or party. Keep a few filling, protein rich snacks including tins of tuna, a protein or nut based snack bar as well as a weekly supply of fresh veges to snack on handy so you can always grab something before you head out. The ability to self-manage your appetite and prevent overeating is one of the most crucial steps you can take towards managing your food intake and your weight long term.
Please note: This blog aims to supply user-friendly nutrition information for busy people without comprising on food taste and quality but should be used as a guide only and not in place of advice from your own dietitian or medical specialist. For further information on this topic, please consult your health professional.
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