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Dining Out The Healthy Way

Chilli Paneer, center, with other traditional Indian dishes at Chutneys, Monday, April 1, 2013. (Steven Lane/The Columbian)

‘Tis the season to be….over-eating.

In the UAE, there is always an excuse to dine out, from Q4 of the year being event season to new restaurants opening up seemingly each week, but all these heavy, lavish meals can take their toll on you waistline.

We bring you, courtesy of Clinical Dietician at MEDI Weight Loss, Farah Chabib, a guide to making the right menu choices when dining socially.

Rule 1

Choose the right salad

Opting for a salad on the menu doesn’t always mean fewer calories. The salad dressing could be very high in fat so always ask for dressing on the side and add a small amount as you go rather than pouring onto the leaves in one go. Alternatively, request balsamic vinegar or even lemon juice for added flavour which you can add as much as you like without increasing your calorie intake.

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 Rule 2

Sauce on the side

As with salad dressing, when you order grilled meat remember to ask for any accompanying sauce on the side. Sauces will be either cream-based or heavy gravies, so avoid these as much as possible only adding a little to your food.

Rule 3

Italian food is ok!

Italian food gets a hard time but there is no reason you cannot visit your favourite pizzeria. Real thin crust Italian pizza with fresh tomato sauce topped with mozzarella cheese is not an unhealthy choice. Neither is al-dente penne arrabiata for instance. It is the portion size that is the problem. Perhaps share your pasta plate or pizza and have a light salad on the size.

Rule 4

Eat a sandwich

Sandwiches are ideal for lunch since they are practical, fast and light! Keep your sandwich light by making sure it doesn’t contain both mayonnaise and cheese.

Rule 5

Avoid appetizers

Whether you’re eating Arabic food or any other cuisine, the appetizers (such as hummus, moutabbal, cheese bourak, mozzarella sticks, nachos and french fries) can stack up more calories than your main course itself. Always choose healthy salads for appetizers, preferably those minus mayonnaise.

www.mediweightloss.me

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