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DAY 23 DIARY - Food Strategies Part 2 (eating out, booze and holidays)

Earlier this week we spoke about Food Strategies as a way of overcoming cravings. Food Strategies are simply ways of thinking about your own particular food challenges and devising practical ways for dealing with them. Today I want to talk about employing Food Strategies in ‘special’ situations, when you might have less control over what you eat (in other words you aren’t making it!).

Probably the big one for most of us is eating out. The first thing to say here is that eating out should be a pleasure and we don’t want to detract from the experience by agonizing over what to eat, but if you eat out a lot some tactics are advisable! For example,

  • Pizza is OK but share one with someone else and get a side salad to fill the rest of your plate.

  • Pasta with really rich creamy or buttery sauces can pack a hefty calorie load, go for tomato-based/veggie/seafood ones instead (e.g. Carluccios carbonara 1036 cals, vongole 531 cals)

  • Don’t fill up on bread. Have a piece and then move the basket out of reach.

  • If something is served with fries ask to substitute salad, you can always pinch a chip or two from someone else or get one portion for the table to share.

  • If ordering a main course salad, especially ones with thick, creamy dressings like a Caesar, ask for the dressing on the side you then have control and can dress to taste.

  • Eat with Awareness (StealthHealth Key Concept 2), eat slowly, enjoy your meal, stop when you are full.

  • Desserts and/or cheese are best kept for special occasions.

And then there’s booze to consider! I love wine, in fact I spent 3 years doing a wine degree - some might say it was just a ruse to legimitise my drinking habit - so as a professional quaffer here are my tips:

  • Order sparkling water alongside your first alcoholic drink, it will hydrate you and stop you gulping back the booze too quickly.

  • Spirits are a good option. Vodka and soda is the lowest calorie choice but doesn’t taste of much. I prefer a gin and low sugar tonic, like Fevertree Refreshingly Light.

  • Set yourself a limit in advance, 2 drinks is my usual limit, interspersed with sparkling water. I’m not saying I always stick to it but if the intention is there it helps.

  • Try and have at least 3 booze-free days a week (ideally 2 consecutive ones) and if you are trying to lose weight you’ll need to include booze in your Calorie Awareness/Food Spend calculations

What else? Oh yes of course, holidays! None of us want to spend months trying to get rid of the kilos we piled on over the summer so what Food Strategies can we use to make sure we still relax and enjoy our ourselves but without the need to pack the elasticated waists. On flights a good tip is to pre-order a special meal, I find the vegetarian meals tend to be tastier and healthier. Recently on a flight my vegetarian meal comprised of:

Chickpea salad

Veggie curry with brown rice

Fresh fruit salad

Compared to the regular meal:

Coleslaw-style salad

Beef in gravy (definitely not grass-fed!) with potatoes

Some kind of sponge cake

Also, the snacks given out on flights are usually highly processed so I would avoid them and take your own. Even the packets of nuts are often full of sugar, flavour enhancers and palm oil. For example, here is a snack that was given to me on a flight recently:

A small carton of orange juice (from concentrate) – high in sugar

A ham croissant – more empty carbs and processed meat (didn’t get the veggie memo!)

A mini Kit Kat – more sugar

It’s actually shocking, when you think about it, how nutritionally crap this snack is. Of course, people strapped into a plane seat will eat just about anything that’s put in front of them but surely it would be better to give people healthy food when you want them to be relaxed and comfortable. Anyway rant over, but I would strongly urge you to pack your own healthy snacks.

Once you actually arrive at your destination these tips may also be useful:

  • Try not to snack, save your Food Spend for meals, unless you are in Italy and gelato is on offer in which case I totally understand!!

  • Stick to water or sparkling water, this will keep you hydrated and of course has no calories. Juices, smoothies and mocktails all add up.

  • See the buffet as a good thing, you can control what you eat, there should be plenty of healthier options and just use a bit of Volume Control.

  • Limit desserts, fruit is your friend.

Sorry I’ve just realized what a long post this is but I hope these tips help you through the food maze of modern life!

Sam xx

Please remember to recommend StealthHealth to your friends if you are finding it helpful xx.

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