The allure of Melbourne’s amazing choice for dining out is powerful at the best of times, but add in the buzzing, balmy nights that surround the festive season, and it can be particularly tempting.
Here are some tips to help you make it through the holidays without falling off the wagon and undoing all of your commitment and positive choices throughout the year.
• Familiarise yourself with the allowable foods so you can easily recognise them on a menu. If you are not sure of the ingredients of a dish ask your waiter/waitress to tell you.
• Order your meal without danger foods (e.g. chips, potato, rice, pasta, bread etc). It is easier to avoid it if it is not on your plate.
• Talk to your waiter/waitress. Many restaurants are happy to adjust a menu item slightly to ensure a happy customer.
• Ask for dressing/sauces to be served on the side. Substitute creamy salad dressings for vinaigrette. Be aware of the hidden ingredients and sugars that can be included in many sauces.
• Never go to a restaurant starving- If you arrive at a restaurant very hungry, you can guarantee the bread and oil and your three-course meal will be demolished in no time. Grab some nuts or protein bar a couple of hours before you go out and observe how much more in control of your appetite you feel. It is easier to make the right food choice when you are not hungry.
• Avoid the bread- If you are serious about weight control, avoid eating extra bread on the table. Not only do the kilojoules really add up, but bread is very filling and may spoil your main meal.
• Choose entree sizes if you enjoy dessert and the extras that come with dining out, you are likely to only need entree-sized main meals.
• Always share dessert- Did you know more than 50 per cent of the pleasure associated with dessert is in the first mouthful? Sharing means you halve your kilojoule intake but still enjoy your favourite desserts.
• Order extra vegetables, every time- A plate of greens might cost about $10 extra, but at least they fill you up. Remember we need at least two-three cups of vegetables at dinner for a nutritionally balanced meal.
• Limit heavy rice and pasta dishes to just once a week/fortnight- Risotto, creamy pasta dishes, pizza and paella are common restaurant selections but are high in carbohydrates and fat, so limit these heavier dishes to just once a week/fortnight.
• Eat slowly to let fullness register. It takes up to 20 minutes for the body to register fullness, so eat slowly and put your knife and fork down in between each mouthful.
• Instead of meeting friends for coffee/lunch/dinner meet for a walk. You can still chat and be sociable whilst also avoiding unneeded food and getting exercise.
Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner
© The Health & Wellbeing Studio 2017