Scream Hallelujah! Summer is finally here! Our electric blankets are tucked back into the cupboard, the fake fur throw you’ve dozed and dribbled on is bundled away, and the drawer you stuffed your shorts and singlets into six months ago is screaming to be opened.
But the winter wasn’t kind. The nights were cold and lonely. One too many sweet treats were indulged upon and your lucky pants are starting to make you look like the glad-wrapped manuka muffins you’ve become far too fond of.
Suddenly the social calendar starts filling up. The annual Jones’s barbecue invite has landed and you’re desperate to impress them with the potato salad recipe you stumbled upon in a bid for comfort following an unsuccessful Tinder date (things with Tristan didn’t quite work out). Plans are happening, reservations have been made and you’re determined to enjoy the evening without continuing to over-indulge and ruin the hard work you’re planning (but yet) to do at Body Attack.
There’s hope: dining out doesn’t mean having to ruin your hard work, nor does it mean sticking to crinkly cabbage. With a little self-control and some good thinking, you can keep that inner monster at bay and enjoy dining out.
1. Don’t derail – choo-choose wisely
Like a moth to a flame, there are many enticing options these days drawing us in, but choosing wisely won’t leave you feeling burned.
Whenever you have the option to choose the restaurant take it. There are many places with menus on the healthier side, for example:
- Steakhouses. They may do mean fries but a medium-rare sirloin and grilled asparagus will leave you satisfied over satis-fried.
- Grilled seafood on a bed of wilted greens would be my go-to dish. Be careful the greens aren’t soaked in butter or opt for grilled/charred veg.
- Mexican – my favourite of the three. This option might leave you wondering whether I’ve gone crazier than Britney with a razor but a salad bowl with chicken, guacamole and tomato salsa is not only delicious but a very well-balanced meal.
2. I’ve said this before – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Most restaurants will have an online menu available for you to nosy at. When you have chosen what to order stick to it if, like me, you suffer from bouts of food envy, leaving you a darker shade of green-eyed monster than the kale you’re avoiding. Order first and don’t let yourself waver after hearing everyone else’s orders of deep-fried deliciousness.
Next, pre-load (not on gin)! It’s a fact, hungry people make bad decisions. Ever turned up at Countdown having skipped breakfast and taken home enough food to feed Whangarei? Eating something before you go will help you fight off the FOMO (fear of missing out).
3. Don’t be shy to tweak
For those of you who read ‘twerk’, I say go for it! Getting up on that table and shaking your booty is going to guarantee your removal from the restaurant and the situation at hand.
For those who didn’t: tweak. Most institutions will happily cater for a wide range of dietary requirements, allergies, intolerances or for those who simply don’t want to have to dissect something they don’t enjoy from their dish (that’s certainly a part of the concept at AdamArnold).
Asking the waiter for a bun-less chicken burger will certainly be no trouble and will turn a carb-centric dish into a plate of meat and salad.
If you find yourself in hot water and start to worry you might not find something suitable, just ask. Most of the time, asking for a plate of plain chicken and vegetables won’t be a problem, and if it is – forget to tip!
4. What to avoid
Choose to build your meal with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates such as fish and rice, or steak and potatoes with vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, leafy salads.
Don’t be shy to swap it out altogether – asking to swap fries for more greens is a perfectly reasonable request. Alternatively, swap fries or potato for baked kumara and avoid loading it up with butter.
Order your dressing on the side. If you can’t be sure what went into it then avoid it. Stick to a balsamic or olive oil.
5. Remember to relax
The cutlery drops and you’re done. You feel around the waistband and are adamant you’ve already dropped inches. But now is where the real test lies. Dessert. It’s time to sink or swim as your next move has the potential to ruin all the hard work you’ve achieved.
Did you know it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you’re full? Take your time, tell the group you’re too full and you want to wait ‘til you order dessert. This way, you give yourself time to decide you don’t want to indulge.
Or if you find it just too hard to shake off the sweet tooth (like me), then share. They say sharing is caring. Plus – half the dessert, half the calories, right?
Most importantly remember to enjoy yourself. Life is far too short to be wrapped up entirely in strict diets. If you want to enjoy a cheat meal, then do it! Just work it into a healthy schedule and get back on track afterwards.