Going out for a meal is one of my favourite things to do. Seriously, how good is a Sunday sleep in followed by a delicious beachside brunch with friends? Plus, you don't have to do the washing up. That's my idea of a perfect weekend.
With that being said, eating out can be a sticking point for some in an otherwise healthy diet. While a once in a while a side of chips or sneaky glass of red isn't going to instantly add 5kg, overdoing it on the reg can add up over time.
The key to eating out is to be portion-wise and aim for that all-important balance, no matter what. Eating mindfully comes in handy as well; being able to tune into your hunger and satiety cues and adjust your intake accordingly can be really beneficial long term.
To give you a little healthy eating out inspo, here's my favourite things to order when I go out. Which can be used as your own little cheat sheet.
The standard avo smash with poached eggs really hits the spot for me. It's a great option because it provides lean protein from the eggs, healthy fats from the avo and quality carbs from the bread (hint: make sure you pick a wholegrain/seedy variety).
My top tips are to stick with only a quarter of an avocado and add some vegies as sides, like spinach and a roasted tomato.
Don't feel the need to finish it all, either. More often than not, you'll be served a couple jumbo slices of sourdough — but listen to your body and stop when you're full.
I'm a sucker for a salad — they're my go-to when I'm out for lunch. I'm not talking the boring kind, either. A lot of people think that salads aren't satisfying, but you really can have a substantial, filling lunch with a salad. I promise.
While vegies are nutritional superstars, your salad needs to be more than just that. Including a source of protein is key (think eggs, chicken or tofu), as are quality carbs like quinoa or sweet potato. Healthy fats in the form of avocado, nuts, seeds will help you to feel more satisfied, too. That's what I look out for when ordering a salad.
In practicality, a regular salad order for me is along the lines of a salmon and quinoa or something based on beans.
For me, dinner is where things get a little more varied — there's just so many delicious cuisines to pick from!
I love to go to tapas-style restaurants where you can pick lots of smaller plates to share with the whole table. For entrees, options like dips with veggie sticks, salads and oysters are always a winner. For more substantial dishes, I usually opt for something like whole fish or slow-cooked lamb and of course, lots of vegies as sides!
When at restaurants that aren't focused on share plates, my go-to is a piece of fish, like salmon or barramundi. A great tip is to check the cooking method, as fried foods come with a load of extra fat (i.e. unwanted kilojoules). Baked and grilled are usually the best choice. Of course, I always make sure my dish has plenty of vegies and if it's lacking, I'll order a few sides to boost the vegie content.