7 awesome hacks to dine smart at an Indian restaurant during weight loss
So, it’s your most awaited date tonight? Or a bosom buddies’ hangout that you’ve been dying for?
But, wait….you’ve just lost 4 kgs so far with all these days of cautious eating & exercise. And this dinner could wreck your hard work into restoring those lost kilos back to your body, which is now heading for a massive makeover! (Oops,…how am I going to say ‘NO’ to him/her/them???)
And there your dilemma sees you torn into a conundrum.
You don’t have to mentally prepare yourself with adding up to 2 kgs over the dinner’s delight.
Here are 7 smart ways to dine at Indian restaurants without gaining weight while on a weight loss program or diet.
1. Not in a SOUP anymore !
YES, you read that right. Many of us have clung to a very common belief that when on a diet, filling most of ourselves with a soup as a starter will prevent us from overeating at the main course. WRONG! Well, I must admit I used to have the same impression about the thing, before I actually took health & diet so seriously. (I swear, these are the cornerstone essence of our life.)
Soups served at most of the fancy eateries are all creamy & saucy topped with more tempting croutons, shredded cheese & cream which are devoid of any nutritive content & only stack up more calories on the bar. So the next time you’re seduced by the enticing texture of soups like cream of tomato, cream of mushroom/chicken, just restrain yourself. However, that doesn’t mean soups are unhealthy for weight loss. Easy homemade soups like tomato soup, vegetable soup or sweetcorn soups can really satisfy your appetite otherwise while aiding healthy weight loss. Homemade soups use little or no processed ingredients, rendering them a healthy yet tasty & natural broth.
2. Prepare for the table. With WATER
I just cannot stop appreciating water for its role in making us live up to a healthy life. Water is a miracle liquid that helps eliminate toxins & excess of sodium from our body. We need to understand that whenever we end up eating foods high on sodium, our body tends to retain water. Restaurant foods often contain a lot of sodium than the home-cooked stuff. If you’ve often found yourself 2 to 2.5 kgs heavier than the day before eating out, blame it on water retention. Many of the processed food accompaniments served at restaurants may be attributed often, such as soy sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, bread, salted butter, cheese & many more.
It’s pretty simple. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it finds ways to amass it from any damn source; here, our food. More sodium, more retention & the more bloated you become. Hence, the day you’re eating out, remain well hydrated through out with at least 9-10 glasses of water. Remember to guzzle some more water before going to bed & the morning after as well. This way, you’re sure to not put up with that scary water weight!
3. Start smart!
Choose your appetizers with great caution. Don’t fall for the ornate names of the entreé on the menu card. Order baked, steamed, grilled or tandoor items instead of the customary fries & tikkis/nuggets. You could go for Tandoori Paneer tikka, Veg Tikka, Chicken/Fish tikka, Grilled/Tandoori chicken, Tandoori Kebab or similar stuff which are mostly marinated with ginger-garlic paste, curd, lemon juice & other herbs, all of which make great go-aheads for weight loss. Keep from mutton starters as they immensely contribute to unnecessary fats. Complement these with the irresistible traditional mint chutney (instead of mayonnaise or ketchup), which again is a superb combination for a tasty eat-to-slim-down session! This entreé combo rich in lean proteins will definitely keep your satiety level high from the beginning & reduce your urge to binge over the main course later.
4. The salads are calling!
The plate full of fresh veggies sprinkled with lime juice all over will never ditch you. Always make it a point to order salads as part of your menu, because the fiber that you ingest from them is going to keep you full & relished all the time. Fiber fights fat & calories. However, remember not to add extra sodium to this healthy plate by sprinkling salt over it. Enjoying a raita along with the main course meal is a great idea. The raita is India’s very own version of a salad that’s prepared with yogurt & vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cucumber, chopped parsley with customized seasoning like chat masala. Having yogurt in this flavorsome form will satisfy your craving for creamy, tangy & sweet dishes as well. Well, it really has been on every menu of mine.
5. Watch your bread this time, honey!
Choose between rotis or chapatis over a naan or parotta. The former are made with whole wheat, while a butter naan or parotta are prepared with maida (all purpose flour) daubed heavily with oil & butter. Maida, to top it all, is a colossal contributor to weight gain. So, if you’ve been in a relationship with these, taking a break from them until you reach your health goals is going to be a fantastic idea.
6. Make portion-control a part of weight loss
Portion control has always been my key to weight loss. This doesn’t, nevertheless, imply that while trying to cut down weight, we need to starve ourselves or stuff our tummies just half way with globs of reluctance & guilt. NEVER, EVER! Remember not to eat until your stomach has to signal you to stop cramming it with your favorite food (…well, so much that there isn’t even space left for that tiny burp to make its way!) Ah! That happens to many of us.
When it comes to rice, get your hands on an assorted lot. Meaning, if you could order a rice-based dish such as a variety of biriyani or pulao, you would eventually end up eating just 1 serving of it. That’s because, these rich dishes are cooked with other veggie ingredients which tend to oblige your regular share of a subzi. It’s a common instance to devour any tempting creamy & calorie-rich gravy-based dish in the name of a subzi at a hotel.
Just like this one!
Keep away from these thick & puree-based dishes like malai kofta, paneer makhani, butter chicken & chicken tikka masala.
7. Take it slo-mo!
This always worked best for me like all the above hacks. We fail to notice that we tend to eat less while engaging in a long convo with a friend over food. And quite obviously, when your focus isn’t the food anymore, you’re less into it. Savor the platter, but let your friend(s)/date take the foreground this time. And I’m sure you’ll still revel in this memory for life.
And now you know the next time you enter a restaurant, you’re just there to take home memories, & not something to feed your weighing machine.
Do you know hacks that worked for you while shedding weight? I’d love to be nudged in the comments!