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What to eat out: The dinner edition

To carry on with last week’s blog post, this week we’re talking eating dinner out of the house. Also, if you haven’t read last weeks, where have you been?! Don’t worry, just click the link below and it’ll take you straight to it!

Who doesn’t enjoy a meal out of the house? No cooking OR cleaning up – I sound like my mother right now! But, what is the best option to choose? It’s easy to overindulge at dinner, especially if you’re eating out with friends, so today’s post is going to give you healthier options for when you’re having a Friday (or any night!) night meal with friends and family.

It can be hard to know what is in the foods we don’t cook ourselves. My first tip is to pre-research the menu. This can help you decide which is a healthier option, and avoid the temptation of ordering what your friends order (who may not be trying to stay healthy like you). Be aware of the added fats in your meals. Fried or battered foods, cream or cheese-based sauces and processed meats are all examples of how the fat content of your meal can be increased. A lot of meals will come with a side dish, or have the option of adding sides to your meal. This is common if you’re eating with a lot of people – or vegetarians in a non-vego restaurant! If you order a steak with a side, opt for the greens or vegetables, rather than starchy potatoes.

Now, I’m going to run through several cuisines. This will be helpful for when you’re making the hardest decision ever – where to eat!

Italian
Italian would be one of my favourite dinner options (lunch, even!), mostly because its easy to be a vegetarian! So what is a healthy option that will still fit my craving for the delicious cuisine? Pizza or pasta is the first hard decision. If you’ve chosen pasta, opt for the tomato based sauces, with lots of veges. If you’ve gone for pizza, choose a thinner crust to begin with. Make sure there are a lot of veggies on top – order a vegetarian option and then add meat to it! Avoid the processed or high fat meats like salami or bacon, and go for chicken instead.

Thai
It’s common to share meals when you go out for Thai – which helps you try different dishes and also be able to eat healthier. Go easy on the rice. I know, coconut rice is just delicious, however be aware of what a serving of rice is, and how easy it can be to overindulge. Just FYI, ½ a cup is a serve of rice. A lot of Thai dishes are served in a coconut milk/cream-based sauce, which are higher in energy. Go for the noodles (Pad Thai!) or stirfry dishes. Again, the more vegetables the better.

Indian
Indian is known for being a flavour-packed cuisine, and focuses on few ingredients. Go for a dish that contains vegetables (no, I don’t mean potato!), rather than meat based. Side dishes, such as rice or naan breads are an easy way to overdo the meal – and can fill you up before you get to the main dish. Go for chicken tikka masala or vegetarian Dahl, rather than options such as butter chicken.

Pub food
Ahh, pub food. A classic Australian cuisine. Heading to the pub on a Friday is tradition to start up your weekend – just be careful of what you’re eating. A good option is steak or fish, with a side. Opt for grilled fish, rather than crumbed or battered; and go for steamed veggies or salad on the side. Remember, a serve of steak is palm sized! A salad is a good option, but remember that dressings can add the kilojoules to your meal (ask for it on the side so you control the amount). Go for a salad that is vegetable based, rather than carb heavy with pasta or rice.

I’m not saying here that you’re not allowed to leave the house for your meals. I just want you to give you a couple of healthier options to choose from – meaning you don’t have to say no to dinner plans just because you’re trying to eat healthy at home! Be aware of what you’re choosing to eat, and make mindful, healthy choices!

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