When I started my weight loss and fitness journey over 18 months ago, one of the biggest challenges I faced was being healthy and sensible when eating out. Pretty early on I decided on my personal strategy for this – balance. Pure and simple. I wanted to make sure I could occasionally have my favourite treat meals whilst exploring healthier, lower calorie options along the way.
The photo above is of me at Nando’s, somewhere we eat semi-often. As a vegetarian, it’s it quite an odd place to be in love with but I totally am – I can’t get enough! Here’s my first example. I adore the Mushroom and Halloumi Burger from Nando’s, and will always have that as a treat, but instead of piles of chips and rice I will choose a sweetcorn to accompany it. A small change that saves calories, and provides one of my 5-a-day!
Let’s take Pizza Express as another example. I adore the Padana pizza, as I have mentioned far too often. Occasionally (like last week!) I will have the full Romana Padana, enjoying and savouring every bite. However, if it just doesn’t fit in to my food or calorie plan for that day I’ll opt for the Leggera Padana, which is under 500 calories. Simple!
For my final example, I want to talk about non-chain food establishments. It can be harder to track calories as they aren’t as publicly listed, but there are ways of trying to pick healthier options. One of my favourite places to eat in the whole world is Moose Coffee in Manchester (dangerous as it’s a 15 minute walk from my flat!). Although the gorgeous brunch options include pancakes and waffles, I go for the Vegi Mighty Moose which includes eggs, tomatoes and potato hash (pretty balanced, if you exclude the toast – whoops!)
So here are my top tips:
- Decide in advance what can fit into your calorie allowance for the day/week.
- Look for the healthier versions of your favourite dishes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for certain ingredients to be left out. If you want something without the cheese, cream or butter topping, just ask!
- Choose restaurants that you know well if you’re being particularly healthy – you’ll know what your choices are!
- Don’t assume the ‘healthy’ option is always the lowest in calories/fat etc. Use your head – a goat’s cheese salad that contains a whole round of cheese isn’t particularly low calorie!
I’d love to read your tips too, please feel free to leave them below!