It’s time to celebrate and everyone’s going out, enjoying themselves. Do you go out with your friends and gorge on delicious food but regret it later? Or do you stay home and eat lettuce leaves for dinner? How about going out but making some healthier choices. Enjoy yourself and be healthy? Is it possible? Yes! Here’s how to eat healthy when eating out.
Eating out healthy basics
- Don’t fill up on bread before your meal.
- Grilled, barbequed or baked beats fried.
- Tomato-based sauces are healthier than cream-based sauces.
- Get steamed vegetables as a side or a salad.
- Go naked (or at least ask for sauce or dressing on the side so you use less).
- Portion control – get 2 entrees or an entree and a side salad.
- Eat slowly and savour your food.
- Stop eating when you’re full. If there is still food on the plate, have it removed so you’re not tempted to pick at it while you’re chatting.
- Skip dessert or share.
- If you’re drinking alcohol, alternate with water.
Anti-oxidants remove cell damaging free radicals in our bodies. Certain foods are packed with anti-oxidants so make sure you have some of these with your meal.
- olives and olive oil
- vegetables, especially broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, squash
- fruit – avocado, cherries, red grapes, mango, paw paw, peaches, nectarines, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
- onions, garlic, shallots, leeks
- citrus fruit – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit
- tomotoes (lycopene is more easily absorbed from cooked tomatoes than raw)
- oily fish like salmon, trout, sardines, tuna or mackerel contain omega-3 fats.
- leafy green vegetables
- red wine
- dark chocolate
We all have our favourite cuisines so here are some healthier options for you to try from some popular cuisines.
Healthier Italian options
- Minestrone soup
- Spinash and ricotta ravioli
- Pasta with tomato-bases sauces
- Octopus salad
- Chicken cacciatore
- Grilled veal
- Thin crust veg pizza
Healthier Asian options
- Stir fries loaded with veggies
- Steamed fish
- San choy bow (minced pork or chicken with veggies served in fresh lettuce leaves)
- Veggies – steamed or stir fried
- Dumplings – steamed or boiled
- Steamed chicken with ginger
- Steamed egg
- Green tea
- Rice paper rolls filled with avo, veggies and salmon, prawns or chicken
- Thai beef salad
- Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) with chicken or beef
- Sushi (small rolls of rice covered with vegetables, egg or seafood)
- Sashimi (small portions of raw fish)
- Poke bowl (small cubes of raw fish with vegetables served on a bowl of rice)
- Fresh fruit platter
- Kimchi (Korean spicy pickled cabbage – great for gut health)
- Edamame beans
Healthier Middle Eastern options
Kebabs (meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer)
- Hummus (thick paste made from ground chickpeas)
- Pita bread (grilled flatbread)
- Tabouli (cracked wheat salad with onions, tomato and parsley)
- Cabbage rolls (rice and minced meat baked in cabbage leaves)
- Felafel (deep fried chickpea balls) with salad
- Tzatziki (yoghurt dip with cucumber and garlic)
- Shakshuka (eggs poached in spiced tomato sauce)
- Mejadra (spiced lentils and rice)
It is the season to eat, drink and be merry. And of course, you don’t want to exclude yourself from the festivities so allow yourself some treats (in moderation), but make sure you eat plenty of healthy foods and keep hydrated! Your body will thank you for it in the new year.
Enjoy the holidays, spend time with your family, eat well and travel safe!
PS for more healthy food ideas, check out the blog on foods that reduce stress.
Jenny is a working woman, seeker of health and peace on earth.