From our Guest Writer:
Personal Trainer Janet Ho
In Hong Kong, we're always so busy during the week and we always end up finishing work late. By the time you get off work, you're usually so hungry that you just want to go to the nearest restaaurant, eat everything in sight to satisfy your hunger and then go home.
But, is eating out all the time bad for you? It doesn't have to be, as there are always healthier options on the menu that you can choose from without getting all too stuffed. Let me share a few options from the menu and some tips for eating out that can help you keep track of your caloric intake.
The bread basket
When you're hungry, it's pretty much impossible to resist the temptation to munch on an Italian restaurant’s warm foccacia or crostini. Served in the bread basket before the starter, a lot of restaurants have started to provide brown breads in their baskets, so pick those instead of the white ones. Hold back though - you don't have to wipe the bread basket clean.
Different restaurants serve their food in different portions, usually large ones. One helpful tip is to separate the portion that you'd like to eat from that meal and tell a waiter to pack the rest in a doggy bag. Freeze it and pack it for your lunch box at work for another day – talk about saving on money and calories!
Almost all restaurants nowadays serve a half portion more than what a person really needs. Why not share an appetizer and a main course with a friend? This way, you can try out different foods on the menu, and rest assured that you are not overeating.
Choosing a different preparation of a dish that you're going to order from the menu could dramatically change the amount of calories in the dish. Avoid dishes prepared as crisp (deep-fried), gratin (prepared with at least two of the following ingredients: cheese, cream milk flour and butter), cutlet, buttered, mashed or breaded on the menu. Instead, pick sautéed (quick stir-fried), grilled, seared or steamed dishes.
A few of my personal suggestions on appetizers are:
- Vietnamese fresh spring rolls with shrimp
- Seared tuna with sesame soy dressing
- Beef cappaccio
- Seared scallops
As for the main course:
- Any kind of grilled seafood such as salmon, king prawn, sea bass or beef steak
- Roasted chicken with salad or steamed vegetables as your side dish
- Beef or chicken fajitas with reasonable amounts of condiments (sour cream, guacamole and tomato)
Avoid lunch buffets so that you don't get tempted to overeat on your second, third or fourth helping, and if you do not have very good discipline on portion control, try ordering from the a-la carte menu rather than the set menu. Not doing so wouldn’t only damage your figure, it would also damage your budget as you would be forced to pay for the food portions that you don’t even need. Here's to eating smart and stay slim even if you don't have time to cook at home!
For more information, please check out www.fitnesscompass.com.hk where Lifestyle Asia members can receive their first 90-minute PT session free of charge.