Trying to pick healthy restaurant options can stress out even the savviest of healthy eaters, because you have less control over the way the food is cooked, ingredients used and portion sizes.
But eating out should be enjoyable no matter what your dietary needs or health goals, and it doesn’t have to be stressful or mean skipping your family’s favourite places to eat.
With more people eating out more often these days, either for social or work reasons, it pays to be able to choose healthily from a restaurant menu, no matter where you are.
Next week I’m off to Center Parcs with the family so looked ahead to see what restaurant and food options are available. Some of them are Nationwide chain restaurants, so I’ve looked at the menu’s from each of these and shown you what I’ll likely be eating if we go to any of these while we’re there.
I particularly would like to try the Bella Italia veg spaghetti, and I think my Bella would be impressed to be in a restaurant named after her too!
Bella Italia – Vegetable spaghetti (courgette, carrots & beetroot) with bolognese or any other sauce that has meat or fish (for protein).
Bella Italia are one of the only restaurants doing the spiralizing thing so I’m definitely going to check out their take on it! This menu has a symbol next to means which are under 300 calories (3-400 being pretty good for most women to aim for in the main part of a meal if you’re having 3 meals + a couple of snacks a day, and your goal is weight loss – plus extra veg/fruit/salad), but that doesn’t mean any of those are good choices. The Bruchetta is low calorie, but being tomatoes on bread it’s not doing to fill you up at all – no protein and white flour is pretty refined.
Cafe Rouge – Bistro Salad (dressing on the side) with smoked duck.
The salad looks really good, and duck purely because I don’t often have it, though I might choose chicken instead. Failing that a fishcake or steak with salad would go down well too.
Starbucks – Decaf Americano with sugar free syrup
Those syrups are my ‘calorie free junk’ treat on the rare occasions I’m passing a Starbucks. The calories in these places comes from milk & syrups, or whipped cream, though you probably guessed that one. Also your body doesn’t acknowledge liquid in the same way it does food, so stick to nearly calorie free drinks as much as possible while trying to lose weight. Americano, tea & herbal teas, espresso, or iced versions of any of these. P.S. Nothing wrong with caffeine but I don’t want to have to rely on it (addiction) so I only have a couple of caffeinated drinks a day, usually in the morning.
Strada – Superfood salad with salmon or chicken, but dressing on the side and no nuts/seeds
I do love a tasty salad since I’m a bit lazy with my own at home. Since restaurant food tends to be bigger portions and higher calorie, I probably won’t want the seeds, or maybe have these on the side too, so I can control how much I have of both. The sea bass looks good too, I’d swap the potatoes for seasonal greens and likely have an extra side salad too (veg dishes are the one thing restaurants serve too small!)
Las Iguanas – Halloumi Churrasco Skewers with extra salad and no chips.
Different to what I’d have at home but still a basic protein / veg combo. Or the ‘Fiesta Insalada’ salad has so many different veg in too, I’d skip the dressing and add crayfish.
What are your favourite healthy meals when you eat out? Or do you see it as a treat to indulge once in a while? The best conversations happen in my Free Facebook Community so come and join us and let me know!