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5 ways to eat healthier when dining out

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It’s easy to fall off the wagon when eating at a restaurant. Temptation is all around, and it can be difficult to follow the instructions of a specific diet when you’re not in control of the kitchen. Here are five simple ways to eat healthier this year, and still enjoy your meal out.

1. Order a jug of water

Fizzy drinks, fruit juices, and yes, alcohol, all add to the calorie content of your meal. Try swapping your standard tipple for a glass of water or at least alternating a drinks order with a glass of tap water. A little extra liquid will also help you feel full, so you’ll be less inclined to finish an overly large portion. Coffee, too, dulls the appetite, so can be a good way to end a meal instead of pudding – if you can cope with the caffeine!

Coffee at Clarke's Bar and Dining Room

Coffee at Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room. Photograph courtesy of the restaurant.

2. Ask questions

There’s nothing worse than ordering what sounds like a healthy option than to find out the mushroom is actually crumbed and deep fried, or that the dish is 90% cheese. (Under different circumstances, of course, this is great news…) Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter how a dish is prepared and served, whether fish is grilled or fried, or whether the iced coffee is made with ice blocks or ice cream and loads of sugar.

A bunless BBLT at IYO. Photo supplied.

A bunless BBLT at IYO. Photo supplied.

3. Try a new restaurant

It can be tricky to break habits at your local, where you’re used to ordering a beloved dish. Head to one of these restaurants striving to be health focused, and set a new tradition. Dishes served here may well also give you inspiration and ideas for dishes you can cook at home.

A colourful spread at Betty Blue Bistro. Photo supplied.

A colourful spread at Betty Blue Bistro. Photo supplied.

4. Eat the rainbow

If you’re dining at a restaurant whose plates come out topped with a variety of browns and yellows, chances are you’re not going to be eating a very nutritionally dense meal. Eating a range of brightly coloured food can help to ensure you get a range of different benefits. Ask about salad or vegetable sizes, and if it’s more of a garnish than a side, ask how much it would cost to double the veg portion.

Bloom salad with pesto eggs, slender French beans with watercress, camembert, purslane and mushroom butter at Cafe Bloom

Bloom salad with pesto eggs, slender French beans with watercress, camembert, purslane and mushroom butter. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

5. Ask for the salad dressing on the side

This way you can moderate how much you have. (This also helps alleviate the problem of the horribly soggy, dressing-drenched salad!) The New York Times recommends dipping your fork in the dressing before spearing a mouthful of greens to evenly dress your salad.

Dining at home?

Fill your fridge with the freshest fruit and veg from Woolies and earn Discovery Vitality points for making better choices.

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