Valentine’s day is looming and with it comes the prospect of being wined and dined by your loved one… But what and where should you eat if you don’t want to destroy your diet in the process?
Here are some top tips for enjoying a healthy Valentine’s meal out that won’t sabotage your weight loss goal in the process.
1. Before you go out. Have a healthy snack before getting to the restaurant. This way, you won’t be ravenous when you arrive making you want to devour everything on the menu. Not a good look!
2. Avoid the bread basket. If you fancy something to start your meal with, opt for olives instead. Bread will cause a spike in your blood sugar levels promoting cravings and hunger pangs later on.
3. Alcohol. If you’re planning to drink alcohol with your meal, don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having some food first will slow the absorption of alcohol into your system and limit the negative effects alcohol has on your blood sugar level. The great news is that Champagne is among the lowest calorie and lowest carb option – we’ll drink to that!
4. Ordering. When ordering, remember you can ask for something different to what’s on the menu. For example, ask for the chips to be replaced with some seasonal vegetables or a fresh salad. Cream based sauces can be switched for healthier tomato options.
5. Avoid carbohydrate based meals like pasta, rice and noodle dishes. Go for a meal based on protein such as seafood, fish, lean meat, or vegetarian proteins such as beans and lentils (Indian restaurants usually offer a variety) or tofu (commonly available at oriental restaurants).
6. Get out of bad habits. It’s easy to quickly rack up the calorie content of your meal out through bad habits. Think twice before automatically ordering a side dish of doughballs /chips or starting your meal with poppadums / prawn crackers.
7. Eat slowly. Enjoy your meal and recognise when you are full. Eating out doesn’t have to mean over eating.
8. Sip water throughout your meal. We often confuse thirst for hunger causing us to over eat. Sipping water will also slow down your eating and drinking of alcohol.
9. Where to eat? Choose restaurants whose nationalities have the healthiest populations. For example, oriental restaurants such as Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese provide much healthier choices than an American burger bar! (nb. If your other half tries to take you for a burger on Valentines, it may be time to consider the future of your relationship!)
10. Desserts. If you fancy something sweet at the end of your meal, why not share a dessert (and half the calories!) with your loved one instead of having one all to yourself? Or you could be truly virtuous and ask for a bowl of fruit such as raspberries and strawberries.
Follow these simple tips and ensure that this Valentine’s day, you’ll begin fall in love with your gorgeous new figure as well as the man in your life!