This happens to be one of the biggest challenges you would face when adapting a healthy eating habit. While I will encourage you to eat more of home made meals as much as possible, it is almost impossible that you would eat at a restaurant, at a party and so on, once in a while.
The common problems with eating out is the fact that the meals tend to contain a lot of calories from fat, a lot of salt and the portions are much larger than you need.
So when you find yourself in these situations, here are a few tips that can keep you as close to an ideal meal as possible:
- Let a vegetable option be the first thing you look out for. Be it a salad, vegetable soup like efo-riro, okra and so on. Please help yourself to plenty of it. If its a restaurant and the portion size is small, order for more than one portion.
- If it is a salad, ask if there's a salad that has not been dressed, so that way you can control the amount of cream that goes in there. However, many times you won't have that luxury, that is, the salad has been premixed with the cream. If it's a lot of cream, you are probably better off with just a portion, so you don't load yourself with the calories in the cream
- If its a soup, ask that they drain out as much oil as they can before putting it on your plate.
- Next, select a protein. Eggs, fish, chicken, gizzard, snails and so on,look at your options. Look out for options that are NOT fried, that is, select a protein that is either grilled, boiled, smokes or roasted. For chicken you can reduce the number of calories by removing the skin.
- For chicken, I've noticed many restaurants serve a quarter chicken, that's an entire lap for example. That is more protein than you probably need, especially if you still intend to add a source of carbohydrate to that meal. An ideal size would be half of that. Something like the pieces they sell at KFC. So my dear, you might have to keep the remaining half for some other time.
- Now the starch, rice, spaghetti, eba, pounded yam, whatever it is, should be a small quantity. Most restaurants would sell you more than you need, so ask if they sell half portions. If they do, great! If they don't, you have two options. I think the first is easier than the other.
- First option: ask for a takeaway pack with your meal. Remember that chicken you halved, throw in the other half in the pack, do the same for the excess starch. To have an idea of how much starch you should be having, use the plate method, that is, only a quarter of your plate should be filled with starch.
- Second option: You only eat the amount that's healthy as I stated above, and leave the rest on the plate. But trust me, it is very difficult to stop eating food that's right there in front of you. I feel you'll be doing yourself a favour by putting the excess away in a pack.
- Now finally we get to the drinks! Of course my first option would be water. But if you'd like something more sweet or fizzy, try a diet coke, Pepsi, cream soda and so on. Try to avoid sugary drinks and juices.
- Please be careful with juice, even the no sugar ones. Fruits contain sugars of their own, so when its squeezed into a juice, you are taking a lot of fruit in a small amount. A serving of juice is about half a cup! That quantity is equivalent to the amount of sugar in a small orange or small apple for example.Since the volume is small, you can dilute with water for more volume.
I really do hope you find this useful. It's not going to be easy defeating temptation staring right in the face, but it is worth it. The more you fight the temptation to over eat and win, the easier it gets to win next time.
If you have more suggestions please state them below in the comments.