Tip 1 – Know thy enemy! Check the restaurant’s menu before you leave. You can usually see a leaflet menu or a website. Look for the healthiest options and decide what you will order well in advance. Otherwise you run the risk of being pressured by the waiter (who doesn’t like waiting) to make a snap-decision when you’re sat at your table.
Tip 2 -Don’t eat before dining out: In the past you’ve likely been advised to eat a meal before going out so that you will be full when you get there, and therefore eat less. However, if you spend all day filling yourself up you will probably go into the restaurant and eat your entire main course anyway. You will likely feel pressured to finish your meal out of courtesy, and besides, I don’t believe we should waste food in a world where so many people are starving. Most people dine out for a special occasion, so you should enjoy your night. Just don’t make it too much of a regular habit!
Tip 3 – Wear your tightest-fitting jeans: As soon as you eat a little more than you should have, you’ll know about it. Use these jeans as a guideline so you know when to bring the eating to a halt.
Tip 4 – Think about your starter, and don’t touch the bread basket: Most starters, along with the bread basket, can tally up to 700 calories before you’ve even had your main meal. However, the right starter can actually help you. Order either a portion of vegetables, salad or soup, as the fibre contained in these foods will start to fill your belly with a lot less calories. This means that you won’t devour your main meal in such a rush!
Tip 5 – Ask for your food to be cooked without oil or butter: Although natural fats such as olive oil are good for you, chefs have a bad habit of cooking the oils to extreme temperatures which damages the goodness of the fat. This creates unhealthy fat and free radicals – chemicals that are linked with the risk of cancer.
Tip 6 – Ask for your meat or fish to be grilled: This follows on from the last tip. Frying is the worst form of cooking for turning healthy fats bad. Grilling however is the best way to cook such foods and preserve their goodness.
Tip 7 – Share a meal: Most restaurants in Cyprus provide meals of a generous size. Nevertheless, there’s no law that says a couple cannot order one meal and ask for an extra plate! Cut down the amount you eat and save some cash for a shared desert.
Tip 8 – Drink only water: When dining out a large percentage of the unhealthy calories come from beverages. Most adults drink a few units of alcohol and children always want coke. It’s best to stick with a mineral water which has no calories and a number of benefits such as hydrating your skin and making you feel more alert.
Tip 9 – Whenever possible order these foods: Oysters, crab, lobster, raw salads, and steamed vegetables. These are the healthiest options you are likely to find in a restaurant as they are served closest to their most natural, unprocessed forms.
Tip 10 – If you MUST have a dessert… Order something like fresh fruit with ice cream. Also ask for two or more spoons and immediately offer to share the dessert with your friends. You’ll become very popular and will find that after only a couple of mouthfuls each you will be just as satisfied than if you had eaten the whole dessert to yourself.
Dining out should be reserved for special occasions where you can relax and enjoy the experience. Use the tips above to make the right choices so that you can enjoy your meal and still keep losing weight and staying healthy!