How to keep healthy at social events or eat outs

Apart from nutrition food have social and pleasure value and during the times we celebrate we need to be flexible and adaptable. The following factors however can cause us to easily go overboard:                                                            

The following FOUR guidelines can you help you to control of what, how much and when you eat

  • Role play the social event even before it actually happens and decide beforehand on how you are going to act taking the above mentioned factors in consideration                                                                                                        
  • Exercise portion control and moderation- avoid second portions
  • Don’t fall in the trap of  “mindless” snacking
  • Try to be more selective when choosing the type of foods you eat.
  • Fill a small plate and step away from the snacking table

Portion control

We should eat slowly which helps significantly in ensuring maximum satisfaction from the food eaten as it takes 20 minutes for your brain to sense the feeling of satisfaction. Be aware when large portions are served – there is no need to finish everything on your plate. Accept that the quantity and variety of foods served will be more then you can consume – try to be SELECTIVE on what you choose to eat.  Enjoy two course meals instead of three course meals.  Leave the excess food on your plate or ask for a “doggie bag” if you wish to consume the dish for another time.    

Be aware of “mindless” snacking

We have to consider the types and quantities of the snacks you consume. Table 1 provides the different fat and calorie values of snacks. Although selecting healthier snacks, enjoy small portions and don’t refill the bowl.Healthy snacks you can also offer your guests a fruit and vegetable platter consisting of Rosa tomatoes, baby carrots, pineapple and red apple to be served with a low fat dip. This not only looks colorful and appetizing but is packed with fiber, anti-oxidants and vitamins and minerals. It also offers a low fat value of only 5g and a low energy value of only 350kJ. The table below reflect the unhealthy snacks on the left compared to healthier ones on the right

How to choose at Restaurant or Braai? 

Main Dish Choices: the main objective is to select lean proteins – chicken, fish and plant-based protein in order to lower your intake of calories.                                         

Braai’s: Good choices will be lean protein such as butterflied chicken (remove the skin afterwards) chicken kebabs, lean beef rump/fillet steaks (fat removed) and lean “Beef Sosaties”. Brush the meat with olive / canola oil mixed with herbs and spices or marinades while cooking. In the case of fish, it can be wrapped in foil with onion and tomato. Avoid meats such as ribs, fatty beef, pork, mutton chops, boerewors and sausages. 

Restaurant: Types of meals to order at restaurant: 

  • The “catch of the day” is the best choice for your main meal – served without lemon butter and with fresh lemon wedges instead. 
  • When selecting chicken, remove the skin before eating. 
  • Order all main courses grilled, and avoid all crumbed and deep-fried versions such as schnitzels. Order steak grilled and served without creamy sauces and always the ladies portion size
  • Light meal: Choose salads with added proteins such as salmon, tuna, chicken and calamari. Open sandwiches served on rye or health bread, are better choices than tramazini’s, toasted cheese sandwiches or beef or chicken burgers served with chips.      
  • Breakfast: Healthy choices are scrambled or poached eggs, plain or mushroom omelets, poached haddock, salmon, baked beans and grilled kippers, grilled tomato, onion and mushrooms. Avoid fried eggs, cheeses, French toast, bacon and sausages due to their high calorie content.  

Side Dish Choices  

Braai: Choose potato salad (dressed with olive oil or “lite” mayonnaise), corn on the cob or baby potatoes (boiled in skin and brushed with oil) or health/seed/rye breads.  Choose brown and white rolls, “pap”, white cheese breads or garlic bread or braai “broodjies” in moderation e.g. fist size pap or 1 roll or 2 slices of garlic bread.  

Restaurants Avoid the breads and rolls before the meal. Rice and sweet potato are better choices than a large baked potato, wedges or fried chips.

Tip:  Ordering vegetables and salads with the meal will enable you to eat much smaller portions of protein and starchy foods. If ordering pasta, choose dishes without cream or cheese sauces. Preference should be given to pasta served with a tomato vegetable based sauce. As parmesan cheese contains a whopping 30g fat per 100g cheese (mostly saturated) try to sprinkle it lightly. Most restaurants serve large portions of pasta – rather order a salad or minestrone soup as a starter and a half portion pasta.  Breakfasts: Consume health/seed/rye breads or toast instead of muffins, croissants, pancakes, or crumpets and order fresh fruit or fruit salad instead of juices.       

Sample Menu: 

Braai: Make vegetable packs by wrapping mushrooms, sliced carrot and baby marrow with herbs and a 

Drizzle of oil in heavy weight foil and roasting on the coals. Serve additional salads such as beetroot salad, carrot salad, Cole slaw, mixed salad and three bean salads. Fresh fruit sliced and served on a platter or fresh fruit salad is usually a good choice for dessert. 

Restaurants: Make a point of asking for vegetables AND salads to be served with your main course instead of chips, wedges, baked potato and rice

Eating at other venues

Fast foods: Choose fast foods with a low calorie and slow releasing carbohydrates such as lean proteins, rice, vegetables and salads. 

Sushi bars limit the rice portion of sushi by ordering a Miso soup and sashimi and a max of 4 pieces sushi

Chinese take-out order Beef or chicken chow main. Ask for ½ portion steamed rice and double portion vegetables                                                                      

Avoid high fat, white flour based choices such as toasted sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, swarmas, pita breads, 

Prego rolls, wraps and twisters.

Yours in Health 

Mbali 

xx

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