Dining Out When You’re Trying To Eat Healthily

I’ve learned a lot about those sneaky hidden calories with my latest healthy-eating plan, and while I can manage to restrain myself – most of the time – on home territory, (apart from when it comes to homemade banana bread, which tests me on every level), it can be a very different story, when I eat out.


Fig and Gorgonzola Starter

A perfect example was Saturday night, when this fig and Gorgonzola starter, followed by Italian Bread and Butter Pudding were the latest nails in the coffin of my current healthy eating plan – crazy bitch behaviour, because I really only fell at the last hurdle, having gritted my teeth through my fish and salad main course while I watched my friends devour what was basically an overdose of cheese on a pizza base in front of me.


It’s easily done, and SHOULD be done now and then, just not every weekend, otherwise you become caught up in that vicious circle of losing weight during the week and piling it all back on (and more) at the weekend. 

Bread and Butter Pudding


But self-discipline is really tricky when you eat out because you don’t want to be the party pooper on salad and then you have to watch your friends gorge on the yummy stuff as well as contend with the psychological warfare that tries to convince you that there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself now and again, even though you know that healthy eating has to be a permanent lifestyle change to work.


And this is where that knowledge/obsession with the hidden calories in food really comes in useful, because BEWARE, fellow foodies, there are ingredient faux amis out there, just waiting to help you fail.


I’m talking about you, boiled rice!


It’s fairly obvious that foods like pizza aren’t the best choice, but I’d always assumed that Asian food was a safer bet. Unfortunately, it all depends on the dish you choose, because when it comes to ingredients dressed up to sound healthy, Asian food has a ton of hidden wickedness.


For a start, forget any dish with rice in it, bread on the side, coconut milk in the sauce or if it has been deep-fried. A cup of boring, boiled rice has 250 calories, so you can imagine the additional calorie wastage when it’s fried – especially when those extra, precious calories could give you two glasses of wine, a light starter, or my personal favourite, a scoop of Green Tea ice cream at my local Japanese.


The safest bet if you like Indian food is to go with the vegetarian options or a Tandoori chicken and salad. A simple chicken or veggie stir-fry is the safest option with Thai.


So much of Asian food is deep-fried – which means goodbye to old friends such as spring rolls, money-bags and tempura. Even dumplings and Gyoza can be quite deceptive unless you can stick to four as your main course…which is obviously humanly impossible.


Vietnamese food, on the other hand, which is vegetable and herb based is a much healthier choice, although you still need to watch out for those sneaky little peanuts and sticky sauces.


Italian is obviously not the best, but if you can stick to one course, avoid the bread and order either a traditional meat or fish (unbreaded) dish or vegetarian dish such as a tomato-based pasta with the teeniest teaser of Parmesan on the top, it’s not so bad.


And thankfully, pub food is moving with the times and gone are the days when there is only a pie (my ultimate hangover food) on offer.


This is the pie they serve at our local, so you can see my problem.


Yes, that is a pastry crust and tender beef nesting on top of a bed of mashed potatoes!


These days, my healthy choice at the pub has to be more along the lines of a Caesar Salad (sob!) with grilled chicken (if I’ve got any chance of getting into a cocktail dress in May) – WITH DRESSING ON THE SIDE AND IGNORE THE CROUTONS… ONCE YOU’VE CHECKED THEY’RE OK, OBVIOUSLY – maybe a salmon and salad or a stuffed chicken dish.

I’ve even spotted Quinoa at our local, which must seriously piss off the Parmi Army.

19 thoughts on “Dining Out When You’re Trying To Eat Healthily

    1. Jeez, I can make myself grilled steak or chicken with salad at home any night of the week. When I go out and I’m spending real money, I want something I can’t cook for myself. Doesn’t have to be very big, but by golly, it had better have 38 ingredients and taste like ambrosia.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I hear you! I usually go for a evening snack when I’m in office. I set out planning to eat as wholesome as possible. And I really try to avoid sugar. So I order a chicken sandwich -which completely disappoints me. To get over the disappointment I order a nice chocolatey rum ball. The cycle repeats. Sigh 😦


  2. Everything is bloody fattening. Even Caesar salad. I just try to be careful during the week and let go on the weekend. Gah! We have to live! We could be run over by a garbage truck tomorrow and the last thing I want to be screaming on my deathbed is, “I wish I’d had that Gorgonzola starter!”


  3. I can relate; I think I have become that woman who can really, yes honestly put on weight just by looking at food, when did this happen? As result I have become a carb-free, salad laden bore when my inner self keeps shouting ‘burger and large fries please.’ Damn you 48!


  4. OK, here we go. The plain, unvarnished TRUTH. Stress, Anxiety and Depression all help to contribute to weight gain. FACT. And when you go out and stress about what you can’t eat, you’re making it worse. You don’t dine out every night of the week, do you? No. So you can’t possibly destroy all that good work and healthy eating at home with a dinner out on Saturday night. It’s not possible. But the absolute misery and stress you cause yourself over not eating what you wish you could eat is making things so much worse. Stop counting those damn calories when you dine out. Have whatever meal you want and enjoy and have dessert too. You don’t have 2 appetisers, a main course and 3 desserts, do you? Of course you don’t. You’re sensible enough to know what moderation is. But moderation doesn’t mean having poached fish instead of that glorious pizza. You know you’re not going to stuff half the pizza in your mouth, so have a piece. And have your dessert. And don’t regret a thing. The lack of stress will be marvellous and you’ll feel great and that in itself will contribute to your continuing to lose weight, a little at a time. Food and wine is one of the greatest joys of life. Start enjoying it without guilt and stress.


    1. I’m with you on the wine. I’ve decided I need it (in moderation) for my sanity. But the food…you know, I’ll always love a great dessert as a treat, or a cheese plate, but I almost prefer healthy mains now.


      1. Strangely enough, I don’t drink at home because I don’t ever drink alone. I’m so afraid I’ll turn into one of those old lady lushes. After all, I’ve already got the cat! But when I go out, I’m definitely going to have an appetiser serve of something luscious. And, as you say, everything in moderation.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s crazy how restaurants hide their calories. They try to design their food so that you WON’T want to stop. They want you to come running back to overeat again. The world is set up against us. Keep fighting the good fight!



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