So it's nearly the weekend! And it's the end of January, a long, dark and depressing month. For many it's also the first payday since Christmas so you might be having a night out. However if you're trying to lose weight a night out can be fraught with worry and difficulties. We all want to enjoy ourselves once in a while, but how can you have a good night out without ruining all that hard work you've been doing? Well read on for some helpful advice and some real eye-openers on what you thought might be the "healthy option" at some major high street restaurants...
Most people would consider a salad to be a good alternative, low in carbs and fat it seems like a good choice? However if you went for a Pizza Express Chicken Caesar Salad you would be better off going for a pizza! This salad contains a whopping 1160 calories, 67g protein, 112g carbohydrates and 48g fat! That's pretty much your entire fat intake for the whole day and over half most people's daily calories in a salad!! With doughballs, croutons, smothered in salad dressing this is not the smart option. If you'd gone for the Pollo ad Astra Pizza you would be slashing those calories and fat intakes by over half! This is a perfect example of how labelling foods as "good" and "bad" can go drastically wrong. You end up depriving yourself of something you would really like - after all who goes to a pizza restaurant to eat salad?? Some food chains are now displaying calorie content on their menu's, but this is an entirely voluntary move and it's not a requirement to do this, so when you are choosing your meal have a think about what's actually in the food - are there lots of hidden calories ?
You may decide to go somewhere like Wagamama for a healthier meal with lots of fresh veggies, high in protein and so on but beware it's not always as healthy as it looks either! If you had the Chicken Raisukaree Curry that comes in at 1160 calories, 152g carbohydrates, 42g protein and 65g fat! Swap that for the Chicken Ramen and you'd get the same amount of protein but be slashing the figures to 476 calories, 63g carbs and a tiny 6g of fat. Ramen dishes are a much smarter alternative - just as tasty and filling. That sounds like a good swap to me.
What about coffee? So most people know that the "healthy coffee" is an Americano, and I must admit that's mainly what I drink if I am buying a coffee out. I do actually enjoy a good Americano to be honest, but I also can't stand the thought of wasting loads of precious calories on a hot drink! A Starbucks Grande White Chocolate Mocha will set you back 505 calories! As well as 56g carbs and 25g fat. But if you went for the Grande Cappuccino with semi-skimmed milk that would be a great swap as you'd cut the calories down to 116, the carbs to 12g and the fat to only 4g. Smart idea!
It is possible to eat out, have a nice evening and not totally blow the diet. Other tips would be:
1. Have a starter and a main, or main and dessert instead of the three courses. Of if you enjoy a pudding you could even share one with your friend (I have been known to do this! I love my puddings).
2. Go for a high protein option and swap the carbs for some veggies - or share a side if you really want a few chips! (I usually just pinch a few of my husband's!)
3. Skip the booze, or if you really fancy a few drinks go for that high protein option and have just one course. However... Warning! .... booze also has the effect of lowering our inhibitions which means we're much more likely to fall off the diet wagon and make bad choices...
4. Try having some protein first as this will have the effect of filling you up - protein is very filling so you'll be more likely to eat a bit less overall.
5. If you're not eating until later and you're likely to be hungry by the time you get there have a small, healthy snack so that you don't arrive at the restaurant absolutely ravenous, as this is usually a sure fire way leading to disaster!
6. Have a think about what is actually in what you're ordering - it might not be as healthy as it seems... ask the waiter if you're not sure.
7. If it comes with a dressing or sauce, ask for the sauce on the side and that way you can control how much of the sauce you actually have. Sauces and dressings are often laden with hidden calories.
So that's my top tips for eating out without blowing the diet, I hope if you're going out this weekend you find them useful! If you have any tips of your own I'd love to hear them! Feel free to post any tips below, or any health and fitness questions. Have a great weekend!
Exercise For Mum's was created by PT mum Susan Flintoff. Susan is a busy working mum of two who specialises in helping other busy mum's fit health and fitness back into their lives, and hopes to inspire them to be the best mum they can be!!