For most Malaysians eating out happens on a daily basis… but with so many delicious options, how do you eat out while still maintaining a healthy diet?
These are a few tips and tricks, to make it easier for you to eat healthy!
1. Choose restaurants with healthy options
If you are staying in the city, it’s easy to find a restaurant’s menu online so you can check the menu before paying the restaurant a visit. Try to avoid fast food restaurants or menus with limited options.
If you are visiting hawker stalls, take a look at all the different menus before settling for one. And worst comes to worst, going to a chicken rice stall and asking for half a steamed chicken is a great option! Just avoid the rice.
Even at a mamak stall, you can choose healthier options like: tandoori chicken or half boiled eggs. Even some of the vegetable dishes from the Nasi Campur section are A-okay.
2. Ask for your sauces on the side
Many dishes will come drizzled, and sometimes drowning, in delicious sauces. But sauces are silent killers. They can sometimes carry more calories that the rest of the dish itself. Always ask for the sauces to be served on the side. That way you can control how much you want to add to your dish without eating all your calories away through your sauces.
3. Stick to water
It’s very tempting to order a soda or sugary drink when you are eating out. But these beverages hide loads of calories. They are jam packed with sugar and taste just sweet enough to keep you wanting more. Even bottled fruit juices have added sugars!
You’re safest bet is always water. Not only does it have zero calories, it is also the most hydrating thing you can drink. It absorbs easily into your digestive system. It flushes out toxins from the body and even helps to boost your immune system. Water is the fountain of life!
4. No sugar in my drink please
The other option for a drink is either having a freshly squeezed fruit juice, a coffee or a tea. Just make sure you ask them NOT to add sugar to the drink. Even freshly squeezed juices are sometimes topped up with sugar.
If you are at a hawker stall or mamak simply ask for “no sugar” or “kurang KURANG manis”. Every spoonful of sugar counts. Be mindful of the hidden calories in drinks.
5. Eat slowly and chew chew chew!
Eating slowly has been proven to improve digestion. As you savour your food, this stimulates the secretion of saliva that helps to break down the food while you chew. It takes also the brain about 20 minutes to register that the stomach is satisfied. So taking your time to eat can prevent you from overeating.
6. Do NOT overeat
Do not be mistaken. Just because you are eating something healthy, doesn’t mean you need to go over the top. Moderation is key! Stick to your portion and drink water while you are eating. This will help to fill you up.
7. Don’t even look at the dessert menu!
It is extremely rare to find a restaurant that caters for healthy dessert options… So, just to be safe; quit while you’re ahead. The best way to avoid temptation is to stay as far away from it as possible. Out of sight, out of mind. If you really want something a little extra to end your meal, opt for a tea or coffee instead of a dessert.
8. Stay away from alcohol
Like sugary drinks, alcohol is an easy way to drink your calories. Try to avoid wines, stouts or beers. They are calorie dense. If you really want to have a drink, stick to spirits and your clearer types of alcohol. Vodka, gin, whiskey. They are lower on calories… Just as long as you don’t add mixers.
9. Ask for extra veggies
Most restaurants will be happy to cater for whatever you ask. Veggies are a great source of nutrients, fibres, vitamins and they are low on calories. They are a great food source to top up on. You can even replace your side of carbs with a side of veggies insead. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter what your options are.
10. When in doubt, stick to salad!
The ultimate healthy eating option… The salad!
Raw greens, vegetables, good proteins and healthy fats all mixed into one big bowl of goodness. Just be sure to take a look at the ingredients before you order. Salads are notorious for hiding calories, whether in the form of carbs, croutons or sugary dressings. Make sure you read the ingredients and of course… ask for the dressing on the side.