If you're trying to eat clean, dining out can be an issue if you're not sure how to pick the healthiest meals.
Don't fret because here are eight rules you can follow to eat clean at your favourite restaurants.
Clean eating means staying away from the deep fried starters. Give the signature cheesy, greasy burger a pass. Share the fries with your friends, if you must. Additionally, wash this food down with water instead of ordering a sweet drink.
Instead: Stick to wholesome grain or salad bowls. Order your favourite sandwich with wholegrain toast which will satisfy your tastebuds without the guilt. Mains with grilled meats or poultry count as clean eating as long as the sides are vegetables.
ALSO READ: THE CLEAN EATING MOVEMENT, EXPLAINED
When waiting for your food to arrive, make sure you don’t go too crazy with the free flow of bread and butter. Stay clear of items that are either deep-fried or made with cheese.
Instead: Order a Caesar salad or minestrone soup as your starter as it’s the healthiest option to fill you up before your main dish arrives. Also, choose tomato-based items over cream or cheese based ones.
Be sure not to eat more than one bowl of rice, especially when you’re sharing dishes with a group of people. Give anything breaded or fried a pass. That means the fried noodles didn’t make the cut- sorry!
Instead: Stick to clear soups or pair a bowl of plain rice with a delicious stir-fry.
Avoid fried appetisers, even if it’s recommended by the chef! The cream-based soups, stir-fried noodles and fried rice are also off the table.
Instead: You’ll be equally happy with a plate of plain rice and a stir fry of your choice, topped with an egg. Tom yum soup also pairs extremely well with rice.
Fried and puffy or oil-slicked bread are not synonymous with clean eating. Steer clear from the deep fried appetisers as well. Do limit your serving of gravy-based dishes, such as butter chicken, and practice portion control when sharing it with a group of people.
Instead: Pair your chapati or rice with lentil soup and various mixed vegetable dishes. You can get popadom but make sure it’s roasted and not deep fried.
Refrain from ordering the crispy tempura and deep-fried items. Also, remember to order your sushi rolls without mayonnaise.
Instead: Order edamame beans as these tiny beans of protein are a very healthy starter! When ordering other items, stick to raw or grilled cuts of seafood. Also, don’t forget to limit your intake of rice and be sure to have a hot cup of green tea alongside your meal.
If you’re at a buffet, refrain from getting more servings of rice with your meat. Don’t load your plate up with any deep fried items as well.
Instead: If you are at a barbecue restaurant, reach out for lean cuts and eat them with some vegetables and clear soup. Make sure you do not go crazy on the sodium-heavy condiments. Fermented kimchi is also a healthy dish that you can have.
Resist dishes that come topped with sour cream and cheese. Limit your intake of chips and cheese, although we understand if you want to share them with a group of friends. If you’re looking for a clean meal, quesadillas won’t make the cut.
Instead: Rice-based burrito bowls chock full of vegetables, beans and lentils can be healthy too. Load up on the salsa and guacamole as well! Seafood tacos are also a great choice, provided that the fish is not deep fried.
This article was originally published in Shape.