The TNT program is all about transforming your lifestyle and creating balance. So there's no reason why you can't enjoy a meal out with loved ones or a take-out dinner every now and again! Learn how to make eating out work for you.
The most important thing we want you to take home from this is - do not (we repeat, DO NOT) feel guilty or stressed about eating out! As you’ll have learnt by now, TNT is a lifestyle, not a diet, and enjoying a meal out with friends and family is an essential part of this! With that being said, most meals eaten out are higher in saturated fat, salt, sugar and calories than those made in the home. So if you eat out regularly, use the tips below to make healthier choices that align with your TNT nutrition plan.
If you know you’ve got an event coming up that you’ll be eating out for, why not use this opportunity to enjoy your weekly treat meal? A weekly treat meal is the secret to sustaining the TNT lifestyle long term, enhancing your results and keeping your mind at ease. If it’s not your weekly cheat meal, there are lots of things you can do to make healthier choices that align well with your TNT nutrition plan. We’ve even broken it down into different cuisines/meal types to make things easier for you.
The following tips apply to most (if not all) eating out scenarios:
- Choose water over alcohol to accompany your meal
- Order a side of vegetables or salad rather than a side of fries or garlic bread
- Share a dessert between two people, rather than ordering one each
- Many restaurants will have an entree and main size for every meal. Consider ordering the entree size and enjoying with a side of vegetables/salad.
- Go for raw, grilled, steamed or braised items, rather than friend, crumbed, battered or pastry items.
- If the meal comes with a sauce, ask for it on the side so you can adjust the amount you add to your food.
LUNCH ON THE RUN
Use these tips for days where you forget your packed lunch and find yourself caught out needing a fast meal option.
- Grab a packet of Vita-Weats, a can of tuna and a punnet of cherry tomatoes or baby cucumbers, voila. This mightn’t be the most exciting lunch meal, but it’s very quick, very cheap and super healthy!
- Grab a pre-packaged salad kit and add a 1/2 or 1/4 BBQ chicken. If they don’t have any 1/2 or 1/4 chickens on display, just ask at the deli if they can cut one up for you.
- Opt for a salad with lots of leafy greens. Choose an option that has grains like quinoa, freekeh, barley or bulgur wheat over salads with white rice, croutons, potato or cous cous.
- Choose a vinaigrette dressing (e.g. lemon or balsamic) over creamy dressings.
- Most bakeries can cater to a healthy wrap or sandwich. Choose a wholegrain or wholemeal bread variety, add a protein source like chicken, egg or falafel, then add lots of salads like lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, beetroot etc.
- Skip the whipped cream/ice cream on your iced latte and choose skim milk (or soy/almond)
- Smoothies and juices at cafes are often very large and can add a lot of calories + sugar to your meal. If you’re trying to watch your weight, consider splitting the juice or smoothie with the person you’re dining with. Alternatively, ask if you can order the kids size.
- If you feel like something sweet, choose their porridge or granola/fresh fruit/yoghurt option over waffles, pancakes and acai bowls.
- Choose a side of smoked salmon or baked beans over bacon and breakfast sausage.
- Remember you can always build your own breakfast from their list of sides, exactly the way you like it! e.g. wholegrain toast, poached eggs, mushrooms, spinach and smoked salmon.
- Skip the table bread and garlic bread
- If choosing pizza or pasta, consider ordering the entree size and then sharing a side of vegetables or salad (e.g. caprese salad) with the person you’re dining with.
- Opt for a grilled chicken or steak meal over parmigiana (crumbed, with cheese)
- Choose a tomato-based pasta (e.g. Napoletana or Bolognese) or risotto over a cream-based dishes (e.g. Carbonara)
- Go for a thin crust pizza with lean protein and vegetable toppings, rather than thick and cheesy crusts with fatty meat toppings (salami, ham, bacon, sausage etc.)
ASIAN (JAPANESE, CHINESE, THAI, VIETNAMESE, MALAYSIAN)
- Opt for steamed buns/dumplings/gyzoas over deep-fried or pan fried varieties
- Try fresh rice paper rolls (Vietnamese) over deep-fried spring rolls
- Try vegetable or broth-based soups like Pho, Tom Yum soup over coconut cream-based soups like Laksa
- For stir-fried dishes, choose items that use herbs (e.g. basil, coriander) and low-calorie sauces (e.g. soy sauce/chilli sauce/vinegar/lime) over high-sugar marinades (e.g. sweet and sour, plum, sweet chilli).
- When having sushi, choose vegetable, fish, prawn, egg, tofu or avocado fillings rather than deep fried fillings (tempura prawn, crispy chicken etc).
- For an entree, choose Tikka (dry roasted) or Tandoori over deep-friend options like samosas and pappadums.
- Naan or rice, choose one!
- Try Dahl (lentil dish) or Palak (spinach base) or Vindaloo (tomato base) curries over butter, tikka masala and coconut curries.
- Add raita or cucumber salad to the dish rather than chutneys and sweetened pickles
- When it comes to toppings, add lots of lime, jalapeño, coriander and tomato salsa. Go easy on the guacamole and sour cream (consider choosing just one)
- Choose burritos, fajitas, soft tacos over nachos, corn chips, tostadas and chimichangas
- For fillings - choose grilled chicken, fish or whole pinto/black beans over fattier meats like slow-cooked pork and beef.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP - MOVE ON
If you went to dinner with the intentions of ordering a steak and grilled vegetables but ended up with a bowl of carbonara, a meatlovers pizza and a side of garlic bread, don’t sweat! Simply remember this meal for what it was - tasty and enjoyable.
Now shrug it off and move on. There’s no point in feeling guilty and beating yourself up over this! Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to follow your TNT nutrition plan and fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive.