There’s no doubt that we love dining out in the UAE and with all the different restaurants and diverse cuisines popping up here and there, one of the most common questions we get asked as dietitians is how one can eat out in a healthy way?!
So here they are, our top healthy dining out tips:
- Stick to ordering a dish where your plate is divided into three parts: half of it vegetables, a quarter carbohydrates (such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta or even some sweet potato) and a quarter protein (lean meat, fish or chicken)
- Scan carefully the food and beverage menu as well as the ingredients used and steer clear of items that are breaded, fried or crispy; go for items that are baked, grilled, boiled, poached or steamed more often
- When choosing your protein of choice, go for leaner cuts of meat such as the filet mignon or sirloin instead of the rib-eye or T-bone. Always ask for skinless chicken breast instead of the chicken thigh or wing, and make sure to increase your choice of fish dishes. Always ask for sauces and gravies to be served on the side
- Limit soups, curries and dishes made with heavy sauces such as creamy white sauce (Alfredo, Carbonara), coconut milk, peanut sauce, and pesto sauce. Instead go for dishes made from tomato-based sauces (Marinara, Bolognaise), lemon-grass, basil and lime sauces, dhal based-curries, and clear-broth based soups
- Instead of high-fat condiments and creamy dressings such as mayonnaise, Caesar dressing or thousand island; opt for mustard, lemon or some balsamic vinegar
- Order whole-wheat breads, rolls, and plain chapatti or naan bread instead of white bread, buttered naan, or fried flat bread with your main course. Skip that bread and butter basket at the beginning though!
- Yes, pizza can be healthy too! Choose pizzas with thin crust or whole-wheat dough instead of thick or stuffed crust. Top your pizza with an array of colorful vegetables or chicken breast strips instead of high-fat toppings like pepperoni, sausages, minced beef or extra cheese
- With desserts, it’s OK to treat yourself occasionally and indulge slightly, and always remember to share! Another alternative is opting for low-calorie options like fresh fruit salad or a small scoop of sorbet
- Calories can easily pile up when we drink various beverages, stick to water, sparkling water or even infused waters, when available, instead of ordering sugary drinks, alcohol, soft drinks or juices
Finally, eating out is a big part of our lives whether we are socializing with friends or having business meetings, and by making simple swaps and smart choices at restaurants, you too, can still enjoy dining out at the latest eateries without piling up unwanted calories or even kilos! Happy, Healthy Eating xx