Work, travel and a hectic lifestyle results in many of us eating out almost three to four times a week. This can weigh especially heavy on those trying to shed the kilos.

But ordering out your meals doesn’t necessarily have to throw your diet in disorder. Just ensure you make the right choices – here are 5 ways to order sensibly if you are eating out:

If it’s Chinese, stick to soups and appetisers

Rice and noodles are rich in calories (can range from 900-1,400 kcals) so it is best to avoid. Opt for lean protein and vegetable dishes that are steamed and stir-fried, like momos instead. Choose clear soups over creamy ones.

If it’s a roadside stall, ask for rajma

Chicken and fish are both excellent sources of protein and make an ideal main course. Ask for them grilled, and tell the vendor hold off on the oil basting. Vegetarians should go for paneer tikkas, stir-fried vegetables with dal, parathas made with seasonal greens and rajma gravy (100 grams of rajma contain 140 calories). Make sure you ask them to hold the cream.

If it’s sandwiches at Subway, hold the sauce

Check the menu to see what low calorie, low fat options are on the list. Choose whole wheat or Italian bread over white flour and vegetable sandwiches rather than meat or ham. Tossed vegetables are both low in calories and rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants and other essential nutrients.

If it’s continental, no cheese

If you’re ordering pizza, ask for thin crust instead of thick and vegetable toppings only, no cheese. Same rule for burgers. Grilled chicken or vegetable sandwiches without cheese are another safe bet, as they are approximately 330 kcals.

If it’s dessert, favour fruit

Skip cakes, pastries and ice-cream. Go for fruit salad with low-fat ice-cream or sugar-free desserts, if they are on the menu.

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Written by R. Kalpana

R. Kalpana

Nutritionists have a role to play that goes beyond mere meal-planning, says Kalpana, who believes she can motivate others to stay on the path towards a healthier life. A certified dietician with a PhD from SPMVV University, she is a Mary C Jacob Award-winner for Merit in Physiology from Madras University and has worked across various hospitals as well as nutrition clinics. She has been published both nationally and internationally in various science and health journals and writes regular health blogs for Sify. At home, Kalpana tracks her family’s food choices – she ensures that they follow a healthy lifestyle – and she believes she can help HealthifyMe users to do the same. People who really want to change the way they eat will see success, she claims, of the opinion that nutrition, lifestyle and behavioural changes can be transformative only in tandem. Eat good food, to your heart’s content, but ensure you also exercise are fundas she urges you to follow.

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