Eating out is enjoyable and sociable, and provided that you choose wisely you can still eat healthily and relatively moderately with regard to health and fat loss goals.

When I eat out I want it to be special, consequently I don’t eat out often. I am a firm believer that if you truly want to be healthy and lean, you need to prepare your own food. However, we are all social creatures, and to not eat out and enjoy the numerous restaurants the great city of Saigon has to offer would be sacrilege.


So, how can you solve the dilemma of eating healthily, enjoying the taste and not consuming too many calories when you eat out? Here are eight tips for making your restaurant meal healthy and fat burner conscious while ordering restaurant meals.


1) Choose dishes that are not deep-fried. At the very basic level fried foods are unhealthy because they are very high in bad fats and calories. The quality of oil used for most deep-frying is very poor. Vegetable oil, which has been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated (trans fatty acids) can be reused or reheated numerous times, cutting costs but potentially killing us. Furthermore, deep-frying robs foods of nutrients and is associated with the onset of chronic health conditions.


2) Forget the fries. Ask to replace fries with a portion of fresh vegetables. Vegetables, especially of the green-leaf variety, provide us with energy and detoxify our systems from harmful substances. Vegetables should be the “star” of every meal.


3) Avoid rich and creamy sauces. All contain high sugar, bad oil or fat content, and because we live in Asia, they most likely also contain MSG. Therefore, these sauces aren’t just calorie laden, they are inflammation promoting and destructive towards our neutral transmitters. Truly not a smart choice.


4) Replace dressings with fresh lemon or lime juice. Another great option is virgin olive oil and dry spices to add a great serving of good fats that taste great! Alternatively, order dressings to be brought separately so that you can decide how much to apply.


5) Avoid the tempting pre-meal nibbles. These are usually loaded with fat and sugar, as well as salt to increase your thirst. You don’t need to fill up on ordinary bread when you’re paying good money for a meal. Simply ask for it to be taken away before you can even be tempted.


6) Don’t feel that you have to have dessert. If you are craving something sweet (which you shouldn’t — this demonstrates that you are deficient in certain minerals or vitamins, or eating the wrong food for your metabolic type) ask for a small piece of fruit. It will help satisfy the sweet craving as well as provide fibre and healthy antioxidants.


7) Stop ordering drinks. A glass of wine has between 125 and 200 calories, fizzy drinks contain 10 teaspoons of sugar, beer has estrogenic properties due to the fermentation of yeast within it and will dramatically halt your ability to burn stomach fat. Beverages can easily take your overall calorie consumption through the roof, making what could be a small meal an exercise in overeating. Alcohol also disrupts sleep patterns, putting your internal system under stress and therefore promoting a fat storing state.


8) Chew on this. There is a correlation between speed of eating and Body Mass Index (BMI). The faster you eat the higher your BMI. Rushing down food has many disadvantages and is indicated as a common habit in obese and overweight individuals. Eating food slowly and chewing thoroughly has been proven to assist in weight loss by promoting the satiety process sooner.


If you really want to enjoy eating out at the same time as tackling a health or weight concern, then look first at where you eat, and second at what (both the food and quantity) you eat. Third, how you eat.


Where, what and how.


Eating should be enjoyable and when following sound principles will foster great health, appearance and well-being.


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at or through Star Fitness (

Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information. 


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