Eating out has become more and more popular over the past 10 years or so, with many clients I see eating 6 or meals away from home each week. Before you say, ‘hey, not me’, I’m talking about any meals not prepared by you personally.
This includes any bought lunches, any meals at friends’ houses, lunches provided by your workplace, takeaways and of course any meals eaten at cafes or restaurants. They add up, don’t they?
When your meal is prepared by someone else you have little or no control over how it is actually cooked and what goes in it. If your goal is fat loss, then eating out regularly can definitely slow your progress.
Most people are aware that cafes use cream when making scrambled eggs and omelettes, but you might be surprised at how much oil is used when cooking meals. Have you ever watched any of the cooking shows on TV when they say “add a little oil” before they pour a long stream of oil into the pan. Way more than my interpretation of a little oil! As any kind of fat, whether it be lard, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, etc carries more than twice the calories, gram for gram, as carbohydrates or protein, it doesn’t take a lot of added fat to seriously increase the calorie content of a meal.
Minimise the damage with these basic steps:
- Asking for any sauces or dressings to be on the side
Asking for fish to be pan fried rather than crumbed or battered
Steer clear of anything on the menu that says ‘tempura’, ‘crispy’, etc, implying it has been fried in fat
Ask for extra salad or veggies as a side
Ask for the meal not to come with fries/potatoes/bread/ etc
If there is only, for instance, a Caesar salad on the menu, ask if you can just have a chicken salad, without the croutons, bacon, Parmesan and high fat mayo.
Ask the waiting person what is in the meal and how it is prepared if you aren’t clear on that
Choose to have water instead of wine
Share the dessert
Don’t have the fancy coffee after your meal
If your partner is cooking your meals for you, ask them to measure your protein portion for you, to use cooking spray rather than adding oil to the pan and perhaps spend some time planning your meals with them, so they are clear on how you would prefer your meal to be prepared.
The bottom line is that if you are eating out several times a week your progress may be slower than what you envisaged.
If you need help with your weight loss goals, please get in touch, I would love to help.