How to: Diet while dining out

Slim chance you stayed loyal to your diet last night. If you did manage, power to you. But if you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us, and let yourself go during the holidays, dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot is here to help you get back on track.

 

Get rid of the excesses

The Christmas-to-New-Year’s-Eve week was probably filled with a lot of rich food, celebratory drinks and skipped workouts. Now’s the time to balance it all out.

 

Schedule your workouts: Set alerts on your phone, scribble them on your desk calendar or prepay for classes in the weeks ahead. “The point is to make a commitment so that you are more likely to follow through,” says Zuckerbrot.   

Drink lots of water: You’ve heard this one before but it deserves reiteration. “Symptoms of dehydration mimic the feelings of hunger,” she warns, “So before you reach for a 300-calorie bag of chips, down a bottle of zero-calorie water.” An additional benefit; it’ll wash away leftover toxins from the week’s indulgences that slow down your metabolism.

Eat potassium rich foods: Foods that contain a lot of sodium are responsible for that bloated feeling. Zuckerbrot advice – “Counter it by eating foods rich in potassium,—like bananas, papayas, kiwis, strawberries, spinach, watercress, cooked beets and broccoli—which has a diuretic effect on the body.”

 

Ordering prudently

If you plan to continue with the celebrations, watch what you order when eating out. 

 

Order first: This happens to the best of us. We see someone else order a dish, calorific as it may be, and feel like ordering the same thing. As soon as the waiter comes to your table, order something light and healthy, recommends Zuckerbrot. “Your friends might even follow suit and opt for healthier options too.”

Stay away from bread:  The breadbasket can be beguiling but each roll can have between 100 - 270 calories, and when topped with olive oil or butter, you get about 270 calories. “That can be a whole meal's worth of calories before dinner!”

Keep the starters light: Don’t avoid appetizers, enjoy them. “Then you’re less likely to overeat when it comes to your main meal and dessert” says Zuckerbrot. Just trade in anything deep fried for a fresh salad or soup.

Jump off the gravy boat: “If it's thick, it will stick” is her mantra. Sauces, gravies and heavy dressings amp up the calorie count of what could have been a healthy and equally delicious meal. Stick to simply cooked veggies, grilled meats or fish that do not need added ingredients. 

-Jerusha Ratnam Chande

 

 

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