If you don't want to pile on those pounds, just eat healthy regularly. And, occasionally treat yourself to that tough-to-resist cheese-oozing burger or sinfully-rich chocolate mousse

E ating out is fun, so, treat yourself now and again, without guilt. But, pick the restaurant you know and trust. You might crave to eat a particular dish at your favourite restaurant, please do. But, be aware of the nutritional value of everything you eat. Remember, overeating will make you gain weight. Take a ‘doggie bag' and give it to someone on your way home.

Here I am going to address some of your most common concerns about eating out and give you suggestions on how to make it an enjoyable and ‘healthy' experience.

“I consciously try to eat healthy at home, but when I go out its impossible to be ‘good' all the time”

This is a constant lament of most of my clients. For many people the bigger challenge is to maintain portion control. Indulge within limits occasionally, and your weight will still be in check.

“My job requires me to entertain a lot…so I end up eating in restaurants three nights a week. What should I order?”

Occasional indiscretions of eating fast food or rich, greasy meals aren't ideal. If, as in your case, they are a regular occurrence, take your time to study the menu to find food that's ‘healthy'. Make an effort to make better choices or you will find your pounds piling up.

“I work full time and have no time to prepare and carry food from home. I grab a sandwich at work.”

Always on the run? Remember that it takes no more time to make a chicken and / or cheese, lettuce and tomato whole grain sandwich to take to work than it does to stand in line at a diner, to order a burger. Still can't find the time? Make sure you order a healthy sandwich from your cafeteria or from the deli.

Reading the menu

Here are some tips to ordering the right meal in restaurants

A word to the wise: Don't be shy about making special requests — chefs are used to them.

Look for whole grain breads in the bread basket. Every restaurant will have a selection — ask for it. Go easy on the butter or oil. There will probably be plenty of other sources of fat in your restaurant meal — dressing on your salad, cream, butter or oil on your vegetables. And, remember, the fat adds up quickly.

Drink Choose a fresh fruit juice, coconut water or buttermilk instead of a carbonated drink.

Starters

Go green! Order a green salad or mixed salad as a first course. Beware of salad dressings, as they are generally made with ingredients such as mayonnaise, cream, peanuts and oil. Choose a yoghurt dressing instead.

Soup

Look for one with a vegetable base (sweet potato, carrot, winter squash or tomato) lentil or bean soups. In fact, a large bowl of soup can be extremely filling, but steer clear of cream-based soups.

Main CourseEat your protein — fish or chicken — the lean way: grilled, broiled, steamed and poached.

If everything comes heavily sauced — ask for yours on the side.

Ask for the chicken breast to be broiled plain instead of breaded and pan seared. Or, for the snapper to be grilled instead of fried.

If you are vegetarian look for tofu, beans, peas, cheese and a combination of these.

Dessert

Consider a fruity finish to your meal instead of the rich chocolate mousse or malai kulfi. Bored of fruit? Crave something sweet? Share a decadent dessert with others at your table.

Love to party?

Here are some suggestions to help you continue to be the party animal you are

Never go to a party on an empty stomach. Eat a small fibre-rich snack before you leave your house. Since most parties' dinners are served late, avoid eating large quantities of fried party snacks.

Plan in advance — you could ask your host to make a healthy dish for you.

Eat slowly. Your brain takes 10 minutes to register the feeling of fullness, so enjoy the food and take your time to finish your meal.

Take a medium-sized plate — so that it does not look too empty. This will also limit the amount of food you pile on your plate.

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