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8 Tips to Eating Out

Invited out to dinner, AGAIN. Another birthday lunch, another girls brunch.

It can become overwhelming when you're trying to be healthy and stick to a new diet (and by diet I mean the food you eat in a day), something a little healthier because finally you got the motivation to make some changes.

You don't have to skip going out, you don't have to 'put off the plan until next weekend' , you don't have to 'make this your last cheat meal' even though you've had 3 of them in the past week. You can eat out guilt free, just by making some healthier choices.

Here are my 8 tips for some simple swaps (things to keep in mind) to make eating out work for you.

1. Tomato based instead of cream based. Risotto, pasta, pizza even chicken and prawn dishes. Opt for a tomato based sauce instead of cream. And thinking of the pasta option? Take it a step further, entree size is more than enough for an average female participating in regular exercise weekly - accompany it with a side salad/veg.

2. Side of veggies, no chips. Almost always you can be offered a side of 'chips and salad' or 'potato and veg'. Go the veg - even if it's roasted potato you'll save a whole lot more calories, and you can easily track a whole potato.

3. Sauce on the side. Ever seen "Chicken Satay Skewers" on the specials board? Go for it - ask for the sauce on the side though! Same goes with salads. Use the sauce/dressing as a dipping sauce, rather than a marinade. Even a tablespoon less of sauce can have you 80cals better off. That's 20 flights of stairs you don't have to take.

4. Grilled. Not crumbed or battered. Chicken schnitzel, fish and chips, nuggets, salt and pepper calamari. All delicious, but high in added carbohydrates and fat. Look for the grilled chicken burger, grilled prawns, or grilled fish and you'll feel a whole lot better, saving up to a whopping 600cals per meal.

5. Steamed. Not fried. Not just talking about veggies here. Ever go to Chinese or Thai? Skip the fried rice and stick to steamed. The flavour is in the dish you order anyway!

6. No cheese please. This is a really easy way to shave off calories, dare I say a schnitzel is still a better option than a parmigiana. Garlic bread - better than cheesy garlic bread. Have you ever had a pizza without cheese? I can tell you now, it's a taste sensation. A great alternative of course to cheese where available, ask Fetta or Parmesan (on that pizza!).

7. Dessert for 2. I know, I know, dessert is something that shouldn't be shared. Perhaps you are going out with a group of 3 or 5, order between you all 2-3 desserts to share. Best part is you can try MORE and still stay on track. Also - use some pre-planning techniques, when going out for dessert, skip the potato at dinner and just enjoy the chocolate. Maybe you might even change your lunchtime sandwich to a salad, to save some calories for later. Swapping around meals like this can let you enjoy the moment and not feel restricted.

8. Water, water, water. Going out and enjoying delicious food. So, if you don't want to make any of the above choices - at least don't drink your calories. Fill up with water, you'll be less likely to overeat and keep hydrated.

Above all, remember, weight loss journey's are only temporary. Sometimes you may need to pick and choose the events you attend and 'enjoy yourself' at.

Indulging daily will put your goals further away, eating right will bring your goal a day closer.

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