Eating mostly homemade real, whole foods is one of the best ways to kick the reliance on – and desire for – added sugar. As a bonus, you will feel great for it!
Naturally, there will be times when you have less control over the quality of what you eat, be it a work event, family gathering, when on the run or travelling, or any instance that has you eating away from home.
And that is okay!
Doing what we can as often as we can to nourish ourselves with good food is important, but so is celebrating Gran’s birthday with cake, eating out with your partner, sharing a meal at a friend’s, or sampling the local fare when on the road.
The good news is there are choices that can be made when eating out that align with your preferred real, whole food way of eating.
Here are some suggestions on how!
Restaurants and take-away
We LOVE to eat out! It is a wonderful part of many cultures around the globe.
The downside of eating out is take-away and restaurant foods are often highly processed, low in veg, loaded with excess added sugar and salt, and use nasty highly refined oils or trans-fats in place of a good quality olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.
There are more options out there for nourishing, healthier take-away and restaurant foods, but they aren’t always available. In this case, opt for:
- Grilled, steamed, poached, baked, or lightly stir fried over deep fried or swimming in sweet or overly salty sauces
- High quality lean meat over processed meats
- Loads of vegetables. If there is minimal veg in the dish, order entrée size with a slide plate of vegetables or a veg-heavy salad
- Meals without MSG (it only makes you want to eat more!)
- Swapping highly refined grains with vegetables or whole grain options
- Tasting the meal before adding extra salt – you may not need it!
- Water over soft drink, if a drink is part of a meal deal
- Asking questions if you are not sure or concerned about high amounts of certain ingredients, like added sugar.
- Sharing a meal if the portions are large.
Sometimes the use and high amounts of added sugar, salt, and nasty oils are unavoidable. If so, enjoy it for what it is, and have some fresh whole vegetables and fruit alongside or at your next meal. Such foods provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients that can help mitigate the not-so-helpful foods.
Remember, the occasional meal of junk won’t break the health bank!
At your mate’s
Unless you’ve a health condition in which you will suffer consequences from eating a particular food, welcome the gift of being fed by family and friends.
Giving and sharing food is one of life’s greatest joys!
Most people understand if you have a dietary requirement, and if you discreetly and politely discuss this with your future host, and ask how you can contribute, in most cases people are more than happy to accommodate.
It may offer a chance for the host to experiment with meals and foods they may otherwise never be exposed to!
Eating on the run
Whether planned or caught unawares, it is common to eat out while on the go. But it doesn’t mean you have to resign to partaking in sugared up, ultra-processed, or deep-fried junk.
You can eat well on the run by being prepared or seeking out whole food options.
At the start of the week or the day before, prepare whole food meals or snacks in bulk that you can portion off into containers and grab before you rush out the door.
Putting aside a small slice of time – especially if you know you have a busy day or week ahead – whip up foods such as:
- Soups, curries, sauces, salsa and stews
- Roast veggies mixed with quinoa, buckwheat, or legumes
- Meatballs or lentil-balls
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Nut, coconut and dried fruit bar/truffles (there are many variations of this out there, including our Mocha Coconut Bites)
- Nut and seed loaf
Have in your fridge or pantry snack stuff you can grab and keep nearby when out and about (in your bag, the desk drawer, or even the car glove box), such as:
- Mixed raw nuts
- Fruit, including non-sweet fruit such as avocado
- 100% nut butter to have with sliced fruit, or with a spoon!
- Tubs of plain yoghurt
- Chopped assorted veg, like carrot, cucumber and capsicum
- Whole food dips, such as hummus (to enjoy with your chopped veg!)
- Tin of sustainably sourced tuna
Find whole food options
If out and without food from home, seek out nourishing and whole food alternatives by ducking into a supermarket as opposed to a convenience store. Choose a banana over a chocolate bar, or hummus with carrot, cucumber or snow peas to dip rather than a white bread-margarine-fake-cheese-and-ham sandwich.
Fortunately, healthier take-out or ready-made food options are increasingly available and needn’t cost the earth!
The take home
Be flexible, and be kind to yourself. If you are eating out for a special occasion, eat what you feel like on the day and enjoy it! But if you eat out regularly, consider the above and choose options more likely to nourish, not punish, your body.
By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut Med)