Hope your week has kicked off well,
So as you will see from my social media as much as I love to cook I also love to eat out. Healthy sustainable living to me means being able to enjoy social occasions with friends and family and eating out is an inevitable part of this. Food and eating out should never be an added source of stress for anyone so navigating a restaurant menu is a really important skill to develop.
With this in mind I’m going to start reviewing restaurants from a nutritionist point of view by pointing out the good, the bad and the downright ugly on the menu!
But first things first here are some top tips to help you eat out and navigate a menu.
– Don’t go for dinner hungry (or hangry)… This might sound counterintuitive but don’t let yourself get too hungry before you go to dinner. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about “saving calories” for dinner…not only does this imbalance your blood sugar and send your system into a bit of a frenzy, it will also lead you to making poor decisions when picking from the menu.
– With the menu in mind, try have a sneaky look at it beforehand if you are watching what you eat at the time. Making a decision beforehand will mean you are less likely to fall for the less healthy options.
– Avoid the bread basket! Often they will just bring one to your table without asking. If you know for a fact that they will.. just ask them not to bring one before it becomes a problem. It makes it so much easier to resist.
– With a group that are ordering from an early bird or set menu; It can be difficult in this case to avoid having a starter, mains and a dessert so ask someone to share with you. Often there are 2 course and 3 course options so sharing your starter and dessert means you still get to enjoy a little of what you fancy.
– Watch your alcohol intake…most people enjoy a glass of wine with their dinner but think quality not quantity. Order a glass of the nicer stuff to complement your meal rather than a bottle of the house to share. You’ll savour the taste and you might learn a little about wine along the way!
– For your starter, try and order something salad based. Bitter leaves such as radicchio, chicory, dandelion leaves and rocket aid digestion. They cause our digestive juices to increase and this improves our body’s ability to break down the rest of your meal.
– For the main course think protein and vegetables. Steak & spinach, chicken & roasted vegetables. If there is sauce, ask for it on the side. If you really can’t resist the chips split them with a friend. If you really want something high in carbohydrates, for example a pizza, try and add something nutrient dense to go with it like a side salad. Remember nutrition isn’t just about taking things away. Its predominantly about trying to make your meal as nutrient dense as possible.
– And lastly and probably most importantly, think about your whole diet. Do you eat out a lot (for example for work engagements) so you need to think about what you eat the rest of the time? Or, do you only eat out a couple of times a month?….
…If its the latter, enjoy your meal and don’t think about it too much. Food is fuel but also an important social aspect of life. Spend time with your loved ones, eat mindfully and enjoy your meal.
What restaurants would you like me to review?
I’d love to hear from you so please let me know.