The summer is a great time to relax and enjoy yourself. Many people make that extra effort in the summer to see friends, family and socialise. Most social events tend to involve food. If you are dieting, detoxing or just living a healthy lifestyle this doesn’t mean that you have to avoid social situations such as this.

Many people do really well but then undo a lot of their week’s hard work when they eat out. You don’t have to follow the crowds when ordering. Here are 6 helpful tips which will allow you to stick to your healthy eating habits when out without sacrificing your enjoyment.

Do some background checks – We aren’t asking you to do a full surveillance operation on the restaurant you will be dining out. Maybe phone ahead or look at the menu online and see what foods you will be able to eat, many restaurants will offer nutrition information on their website to help you make your choice. Several restaurants will also offer gluten free options on pizza and pasta if that’s what you are going for. Organic restaurants are a great way to go!

Don’t Arrive Hungry – If you arrive at the restaurant starving you are much more likely to over indulge on side orders and it may also make those unhealthy mains a lot harder to resist. Eat around 4-5 hours before coming and you should be fine.

Go Veggie – There is no harm in taking the vegetarian options, you will be safe in the knowledge that the meal will be packed with nutrients and goodness and in most cases, it should taste great!

Chop and Change – It may take the ordering process take a bit longer and maybe even annoy the waiter slightly, but if you see something which is off limits attempt to swap it for some vegetables or something that is allowed, this shouldn’t be a problem in most places. Ask for them to cook your meat without oil or butter if it’s grilled. Also a good dip when ordering a salad is to ask for the dressing on the side, some dressings can really boost the calorie count on some meals. You may even want to order your meal from the starter or appetizer menu as restaurants normally serve very large portions.

Avoid Alcohol – It can be very hard in social situations to avoid alcohol, a tip is to drive so you won’t even be tempted. If you do have a drink, have a glass of water or fruit juice afterwards to lessen the effects. Also alcohol does contain many calories, if you are drinking beer go for a light beer.

Beware – Look out for the creamy, rich sauces that come with many of the meals. They will not really help you reach your goals sorry to say.

Hopefully this will help a few of you in the up and coming weeks when you are eating out and prove to you that it doesn’t have to get in the way of your nutrition goals. You’ll wake up the next morning having enjoyed the night before and not taken a step backwards away from those elusive health and fitness goals.

Many of my personal training clients are executives and business owners and can sometimes eat out EVERY day and STILL achieve their weight loss goals. Can you?

Good luck and be strong,

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