A healthy diet begins at home, but it can also be applied when you eat out if you follow our nutritionists’ tips
The summertime and vacation is the time when we most like eating out, either to enjoy restaurants’ terraces or food stands at the beach or to sample the local cuisine in your holiday’s destination. Eating out is a practice that is part of Spaniards’ DNA, since our country leads the European rankings in having meals at cafés or restaurants.
This culinary pleasure can also have a few disadvantages because we have less control over what we are eating, and consequently it can lead to weight gain. If you want to keep eating out in a healthy way while still enjoying the experience, follow our nutritionists’ tips and avoid excesses.
Drink, the detail that makes all the difference
Marta P., the chief nutritionist at DiR, advises, “avoid alcoholic or sugary drinks during meals” because they tend to ratchet up the overall calories count. A beer or a soft drink has around 150 calories, while other choices like bubbly water with ice, lemon and mint add virtually no extra calories to your meal.
Don’t forget to apply the “plate method”
Even if you’re going to eat out, “keep applying the plate method”, says Laura R., a nutritionist at DiR Gràcia and Diagonal. This consists in ensuring that each dish has carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. Laura explains that sticking to this method “is very important in maintaining your weight and avoiding nutritional and health imbalances”.
Side dishes, the healthier the better
If you have the chance to pick your side dish, “choose the healthier varieties”, advises Lucía R., from DiR Maragall and Claris. Avoid fried side dishes (substitute fried chips with the oven-baked version), do not include bread if you already have rice or pasta, and if the side dishes are green, so much the better.
Vegetables, the perfect side dish
Maria V., a nutritionist at DiR Hispà and Sant Cugat, reminds us that “vegetables should be a part of every meal”. She recommends “taking advantage of the first dish to make sure it’s mainly vegetables, or make them the side dish with your main dish”. This way you’ll have low-calorie foods which you can find in any restaurant: salads, gazpacho, cream soups, purées, etc.
Maria also recommends that “if the menu has a dish with legumes, order it”, such as hummus, salads or stews with vegetables. This you’ll have a healthy dose of proteins while avoiding foods with animal proteins.
If you’re heading out for tapas… pick the healthy ones!
In this case it’s as easy as “ordering the less fatty ones, which do exist”, according to the recommendation of Emma C., a nutritionist at DiR Claris. The healthiest tapas include codfish in pil-pil sauce, Galician-style octopus, baked prawns, spicy oven-baked potatoes, mushrooms, clams and grilled cuttlefish or baby calamari. You also have these healthy appetiser recipes which you can prepare yourself.
Desserts, the icing on the cake
It’s a mistake to think that if you eat out you have to forgo dessert. Actually, you can eat dessert because there are healthy options at any restaurant. The tip is that you should “avoid sweet and very rich desserts”, says, Andrea M., at nutritionist at DiR Tarragona, Eixample and Seven. She adds the healthy possibilities: “take advantage of dessert to order fruit, yoghurt, fresh cheese with nuts, fruit salad or refreshing smoothies”.
But if you prefer ice cream for dessert, “try to pick sorbets”, recommends Maria A., from DiR Hispà and Campus. A one-cup serving of ice cream can have up to 20 grams of fat, since it’s made with cream or milk. In contrast, flavoured sorbets are made primarily with water, although you’ll also have to watch out for how much sugar has been added depending on the type and brand.
Learn all the secrets to a healthy diet
Eating healthy is the key to reaching your goals, whether it’s maintaining or dropping weight, as well as performing optimally in each training and having enough energy to face your everyday life without reaching the evening totally knackered. This is why we recommend that you make an appointment with our nutritionists at the DiR Clubs: the first session is free and will help you find out how to improve your quality of life.