If you’re going abroad or venturing out for a staycation in the United Kingdom, meals out are a guaranteed. But whether it’s a fancy meal by the sea, or a quaint café in a small English village, restaurant foods are often deceivingly unhealthy.
While it’s valuable to allow yourself a treat every now and again, if you’ve embarked on a weight loss journey then it’s important not to lose sight of your goals and avoid falling back into old patterns. It can be tricky to get back on track. A meal out can vastly increase your daily caloric intake, as you consume more saturated fats and sodium. So, if you’re on holiday and eating out regularly, it is very easy to put the weight you’ve lost straight back on.
That’s why here at Bodyline we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to ordering at restaurants, ensuring you are consuming nutritional and healthy foods to aid with your weight loss goals. You can be sure that when you next give your order, you will be satiated, satisfied, and won’t regret a single bite!
This guide will feature general rules to remember when ordering, and tips for various cuisines so you have ample nutritional advice no matter what kind of restaurant you go to.
If you’re struggling with your eating habits, and finding you need help with your weight loss journey, Bodyline Clinic has provided help to more than 40,000 people reach their goal weight. With bespoke clinical weight loss programmes, we guarantee weight loss of up to a stone in your first month. Set up an initial consultation today by calling 0800 995 6036 or filling in our online contact form for a call back from one of our helpful customer service advisors.
Some general rules to remember
If you’re trying to reduce the calories of your meal out, this can be done easily by remembering these basic tips:
- Find meals with minimal simple carbohydrates like white pasta, white rice, or breads, choose complex carbohydrates like potatoes to avoid a spike in blood sugar
- Choose a starter dish with a side salad for your main meal to reduce calorie intake across the meal
- Avoid deep fried dishes like fried chicken or calamari, and instead go for grilled or roasted foods for maximum flavour and minimal fats
- Drink sugar free, non-alcoholic beverages and focus your calories on the wonderful food ahead of you; alcohol is extremely calorie dense and can easily take your meal from low calorie to unhealthy
Ah the buffet, it can be a bit of a whirlwind to navigate while on holiday, but here are some things to remember to gravitate towards first, to fill up and avoid the temptations all around you.
- Fill the plate with proteins like chicken, beef, and eggs – this will satisfy your hunger and keep you fuller for longer, preventing any cravings or snacking across the meal
- Pile up with seasonal vegetables – seasonal veg is not just incredibly tasty, but it’s also much better for our health as it provides us with large amounts of the vitamins and minerals we need. Take up the real estate on your plate with fresh foods to discourage any large helpings of chips
- Find the cook-to-order stations – some buffets have omelette stations, paella stations, you name it; all manned by chefs who cook to your requests. Be aware of what’s in your meal and choose every ingredient, that way you can limit the fat, salt and sugars in your diet
- Go up only once or twice for the freshest things available and to avoid needlessly picking, but don’t forget – it’ll be there tomorrow!
A lot of Italian food is carbs, carbs, carbs! While there’s no issue with this of an occasion, if you’re in Italy or an Italian restaurant, it can be hard to avoid. Here are some dish ideas to ensure you’re still on track for your weight loss goals.
- Choose fresh l’insalata (or salad) fill up on the gorgeous salads Italy has to offer – for instance, caprese salads are simple, low in calories and delicious. Made up of tomato, buffalo mozzarella, and basil, this fresh starter or side will elevate your meal and fill you full of good healthy fats.
- Go for spicy tomato-based pasta dishes for fresh tastes and low calories – the extra heat from chilli can even aid in weight loss!
- Grilled fresh fish is always delicious – often served with fresh vegetables and a lovely sauce, this dish is packed with vitamins and minerals along with healthy oils to aid your heart health and help weight loss.
- Share the tiramisu to halve the calories while enjoying the rich dessert – but if you fancy a sweet treat all to yourself opt for fruit sorbet, a naturally sweet and light way to finish your meal
One cuisine British people love is Asian, whether that be Japanese, Chinese, or Korean. Holidaymakers often take the opportunity to try new things, whether that be a new restaurant nearby or a fancy bistro abroad, but if you’re unsure what’s best to order we have some ideas for you.
- Go for steamed instead of fried – whether it be vegetables or dumplings, steamed food has a fraction of the calories of fried food with just as much of the lovely Asian flavours
- Soups are packed full of protein, vegetables and keep you full for longer – hot and sour soup and chicken and sweetcorn soup are both made using the ‘egg drop method’, offering further protein to aid in your weight loss goals
- San Choy Bow is a low carb Chinese dish made up of pork and vegetables with lettuce leaves for a wrap – this filling and tasty meal is satisfying and healthy, and since it has no simple carbohydrates, your blood sugar is sure to remain stable.
We all love a curry, but many Indian meals can be high in carbs, salts, and fats. Tackling the menu at an Indian restaurant can, therefore, be a bit of a task.
- Choose vegetarian curries to boost your vitamin and mineral intake – vegetable and chickpea curries can be a lot healthier as they have less salt, but still fill you up and satisfy you
- Swap naan for roti – naan is to blame for the high carbohydrate content of an Indian meal, so swap it with its wholewheat counterpart roti; it can still be dipped, torn and enjoyed but includes more fibre and protein than naan or white rice
- Tandoori oven cooking is healthier than curries – the tandoori oven requires less oil, and packs flavour into the meats and vegetables as they are cooked. Tandoori chicken is high in protein and will keep you fuller for longer
American foods are notoriously large, fattening, and flavourful. But with salads even carrying hidden calories in the form of dressings, it’s a tough one to swallow.
- Ask for dressing on the side – some American dressings can be around 200 calories, doubling the calorie content in your salad and undoing the good you’d get from eating it. Opt for dressing on the side, and use a splash of balsamic vinegar instead for flavour
- Make your burger naked – the white bread of a burger can spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more when the blood sugar levels drop soon after. If you swap the burger bun for more salad, you’ll feel fuller for longer and the meal will be low carb!
- If you’re in America, ask for small portions or share – portion sizes differ across the pond, so instead of attempting to finish your plate, or wasting a lot of food, see if you can reduce the quantity of food you consume
We hope this guide helps you when eating out on holiday while looking to lose some weight! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our fantastic team to find out how Bodyline can help you reach your weight loss goals.
For an initial consultation, get in touch by calling 0800 995 6036, or fill in our online contact form for a call back!