How to beat portion distortion when dining out

Let me share some tips on how to lose weight but still have a life and dine out without busting your calorie intake for the day. 
Many restaurants tend to over-stack or give us more food than what is required for an average meal. This is usually because they want to be seen as giving value for money. However this can cause tipping of your daily calorie intake quite easily, especially if you add in the glass of wine, starters or desserts. You can quite easily end up having your total daily calorie intake in one meal out!  
Here are some of tips and tricks for watching portion control when going out: 
  • Italian- pasta/ risotto/pizza/garlic bread (usually they give you way too much). Trick: Ask for a side plate when your dish comes out, scoop half the meal onto the side plate and get the waiter to take it away and put it in doggy bag straight away. That way less likely to be tempted and to pick at it. Share a pizza with a friend and order a side salad so that you have some greens and you won't need to eat the rest of the pizza. (Avoid the garlic bread if having the pizza or other carb based meal for a main)
  • Pub meals- Steak, salad and chips- the steak is usually too big and chips add no nutritional value other than excess calories. Trick: Ask for no chips (avoid having them on your plate) ask for extra salad instead. You can and even do the side plate trick again with the steak and ask for a doggy bag. That way you aren't tempted when the other half is still on the plate and you aren't wasting food.
  • Brunch: Omelettes and Eggs Benedict. Trick: Get the hollandaise source on the side that way you can add small amounts to your eggs and save yourself a whopping 100 calories (that is a 20min walk just for the sauce!) Go one step further and swap the white muffin to 1x wholegrain toast or even on large grilled mushrooms. IF choosing the muesli option- ask for 1/2 cup otherwise they usually give a massive bowl that is normally sugary or dried fruit laden and your sugar levels will spike massively.  Banana and bacon pancakes- possibly have this on toast and ask for syrup on the side.  For omelettes, Trick: Ask for no cream and ladies....2 x egg omelette (the chef doesn't know if the person is a male or female and normally will do a 3-4 egg omelette. So be specific.
  • Thai or Chinese: Trick-Avoid ordering the Pad Thai, fried rice, or any noodle based dish. This will put calorie content way up. Keep to just stirfry and watch the sauce- full of salt and sugar. Just ask the waiters serving up the rice- just ask for a small scoop otherwise they will love to dish you up a lot of rice. Same with Thai Curries- everyone loves these but watch the rice portion and avoid too much sauce- go for what's in the curry like protein pieces. 
  • Japanese: Avoid doubling up on the rice- if you are having a few pieces of sushi then don't have the little bowl of rice. This type of white rice adds NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE to the meal, only excess calories - one bowl of rice can be 250 calories. That is the equivalent to a 20 min run or 45 minute power walk. Infact this sticky rice has a high glycaemic rating and will only spike sugar levels so you will get large insulin response and insulin switches off fat burning mechanisms. Avoid ordering the tempura, just go for steamed vegetables, edamame beans, miso soup or seaweed salad.  
  • Indian: Well this is tough...a very easy way to go completely over your daily intake in one meal. Trick: Go for tomato based curries/ dishes rather than butter chicken or cream based/ nut based like a korma. Choose one type of carb so either a little rice, OR, half a Naan bread OR 2-3 poppadoms. NOT ALL 3.  Again if you do love butter chicken- just try and keep to the chicken pieces rather than soup up the sauce. 
  • Mexican: Trick- avoid the quesadillas as they have 2x wraps and can be very dense in energy as usually stuffed with cheese- best to just go for the burrito or taco. The other thing is if you are already having chicken or beef in these then avoid the extra filling of (just ask them to take out) the beans or rice. Best not to super set carbohydrate intake. 
  • When ordering sandwiches, pita pockets, wraps etc from healthy takeaways Trick: just be aware of too many dressings. Just go for one (if you need it). Vinaigrette is usually good option or sometimes yoghurt dressing. 
  • Salads: Trick ask for dressing on the side and no croutons or crispy noodles. These add no nutritional value to the meal, only empty calories
So you don't have live on salads when out but just be mindful of what you are ordering, don't be afraid to be specific or ask to take things off your plate so its not there to tempt you. 

If all these fail then just do double the amount of exercise the next day and try to eat half of what you would normally. For example if normally have a wrap for lunch, just eat a salad and have no snacks. Lowering your calories the next day will help balance the extras from the night before. 

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