A few hot tips from our Accredited Practising Dietitian Petrina Krelle
Eating on the go during the work week and dinners out can be difficult to navigate and it can be easy to over-consume calories. Eating out is convenient when you’re busy, and it’s often part of a social activity or celebration, so it should be enjoyed!
If you’re eating out often, here are a few tips to watch your intake as generally portions are larger than we’d serve at home ourselves and oils, frying and added salt are all commonly used by chefs to enhance the flavour and texture of the food they prepare.
· Ask the sandwich café if they can make a salad box instead of a regular sandwich
· Often bread slices served in cafes are larger than a regular slice of bread. Ask for just one slice of grain bread to be cut in half for a sandwich instead of the usual two (hold the marge and butter)
· Sushi is a great lunch option, but many hand-rolls contain a lot of rice and a deceptively small amount of protein and vegetables. Instead, choose a bento box or selection which includes seaweed salad, a small amount of brown rice, and a greater proportion of vegetables, fish or tofu
· Noodle boxes are quick and easy, but large serve sizes are common as are sweet sauces and lots of oil! Suggest sharing a noodle dish a colleague, or order a small size and have a piece of fruit or a yoghurt later if you need to.
· Lunch choices such as Rolld, Spud Bar and Grill’d offer lower-carb or half-size menu items
· Check out the kilojoule values if displayed, and use this information to guide your choices
· Burgers, schnitzel wraps, souvlakis and chips are best limited to an occasional treat. If you choose one of these, ask for a small size where possible
· If you’ve had a large lunch (or the boss has shouted!) consider that your ‘dinner’ and make a simple salad or soup for the evening meal
· Order a piccolo or ¾ latte instead of a cappuccino
· Skip the smoothies, juices and soft drinks and go for soda or sparkling water instead
· Do some homework and google the menu before heading out. You’re likely to order more than what you really need if you make decisions in the moment when you’re hungry.
· Suggest splitting a main with a friend and asking for salad or a vegetable dish on the side
· Protein portions often very large (thick steaks for example.) Ask the waiter how big the protein portion is if you’re unsure, or opt for a smaller, higher quality cut if the choice is available.
· Share a dessert or order a tea or coffee as a treat instead.
· Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can add a smaller amount yourself
· Avoid fried, battered and crumbed menu items; instead be guided by the following cooking methods: steamed, braised, poached, baked, roasted or grilled
· Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications, as the paying customer you should be accommodated when the request is reasonable!
· If you’re attending a canape event, have some veggie sticks and hommus or yoghurt dip before you leave – this is also important if you’re drinking, it’s best to have something in your stomach before you start
· Drink plenty of water, and sip between mouthfuls
· Set yourself an alcohol limit before you leave and tell someone when you arrive what that is
· Think about when you most enjoy an alcoholic drink (for example, before or during a meal) and limit your drink to that time