Sticking to a healthy, low-carb diet doesn’t seem like an option when we are in a restaurant. Isn’t the majority of a restaurant menu almost always heavy with deep-fried food, bread, and high-calorie dishes? But that doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to eating out and socializing and live only on boiled food. You can manage to have a healthy restaurant meal with some smart selection and modification.
Most of the time, alluring descriptions like “sinful”, “golden”, and “crispy” actually mean high-carb and unhealthy. But some dishes that are also marked as ‘light’ are calorie-heavy and full of refined foods. So here are some tips and diet-friendly dishes that you can rely upon to guide you to a successful, healthy meal.
Tips for eating healthy when you are out
1. Read the menu carefully and ask for ingredients. Vegetables fried in butter, a salad dripping with dressing or soup made solely with corn flour defeat the purpose of trying to stick to a low-carb diet.
2. Don’t hesitate to ask for modifications and changes. If you want a component grilled or steamed instead of fried, ask for it. Ask for vegetables instead of French fries or an olive oil dressing instead of cream. Restaurants cooperate most of the time.
3. Share your dishes. Joey may not share his food, but you should if you’re planning on keeping fit and healthy. The best way to control your portions and make sure you don’t overeat is by sharing your dishes with the company you are in.
4. Choose healthy alternatives instead of starving yourself. Eating as little as possible is hardly a healthy solution, even in a restaurant. Opt for dishes with vegetables, brown rice, legumes or steamed, poached or grilled ingredients instead.
10 Diet-friendly dishes that are easily available
1. Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Kebabs: Tandoori chicken and kebabs are cooked in a traditional clay tandoor. Since it uses a method of slow cooking, the dishes generally tend to be lean, i.e, low-fat and low-calorie.
2. Chole or Chana Masala Indian cuisine actually has quite a few low-carb, healthy options because of its huge variety. Legume-based dishes like dal and chole or chana masala are rich in fiber and protein. They also use much lesser oil and butter. Chole masala is made with chickpeas.
3. Idli and Sambar Idli was recently chosen by the WHO as one of the healthiest breakfast foods in the world. It is a steamed dish made of rice and urad dal. Idli is coupled with a healthy sambar containing nutritious vegetables like drumstick or okra.
4. Barbecued chicken or fish Barbecued chicken or fish is again a lean food option which also tastes great. But be sure to ask the restaurant to make it without the heavy, high-calorie sauces often used.
5. Clear vegetable or chicken soup Most soups on a Chinese menu are usually on the healthy side as they are very low in fat. You can select from the clear soup or the hot and sour soup options.
6. Mixed VegetablesMixed vegetable dishes are a no-brainer when it comes to diet-friendly food. Most Asian cuisines have a mixed vegetable option.
7. Steamed dim sums and dumplings Indians are already a little obsessed with momos. Steamed dim sums and dumplings not only taste great, they are a great low-fat, healthy option. Go for a vegetable variant if you are extra-conscious.
8. Stir fried chicken or fish and vegetables Stir-fries are generally made with meat and mixed vegetables fried quickly in oil. You can ask the chef to use less oil and go for extra vegetables instead of fried meats.
9. Pasta with tomato sauce While ordering pasta, only choose dishes with plain tomato sauce. They contain about one-third the fat and calories of other types.
10. Salads with low-fat dressing This list would be incomplete without mentioning salads. Contrary to popular belief, salads can be very tasty along with being nutritious. Be careful to avoid heavy dressings and play with your options.
Eating out is a more frequent trend now than it was ever before. While you definitely need to think about what that means for your body, it shouldn’t be an excuse for gorging on calories.