How to avoid sugar when you are dining out

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Sugar being poured on to table

Sugar. A controversial topic among food critics, nutritionists and health fanatics for many years now, but is it really that bad for you?

In simple terms, yes! With the World Health Organisation re-writing recommendations for your average daily intake, we’ve possibly all considered cutting down at some point, but what is the best way to kick the habit, especially when you’re dining out?

With the thousands of simple steps you can take to enable a better and healthier lifestyle, cutting down on sugar intake is one that may not be as hard as you think and is something I have found myself consciously trying to achieve in recent years.

1.        Pick a good restaurant

Where to start? Picking a good restaurant is a great place to start. No matter where you live, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and eateries that are offering healthier options that’ll make the whole process a lot easier. Picking somewhere with healthier and organic options will not only allow you more freedom, it’s going to axe your temptation to choose something naughty. With all this said, don’t beat yourself up if you want to indulge in a tasty chocolate desert or fizzy drink now and again, once in a while is not going to undo all the hard work you have done up until now.

2.      Make the menu your new best friend

When heading out for your next meal, make the menu your new best friend. Check the menu for nutritional benefits and avoid dishes with heavy sugar levels. There are hundreds of foods that have huge hidden nasties and are worth trying to avoid; dressings, yoghurt, and pasta sauces are all contributors that many of us are unaware of. Simple changes to your choices can surprisingly reduce your intake in an instant and really takes no effort at all.

3.      Make clever drinks choices

Other precautions like choosing water over fizzy or alcoholic drink can make an impact too. It’s a common misconception that the fruit in alcoholic beverages may be good for us, but they are one of the highest contributors to hidden sugar intakes on the menu. Asking for low sugar, diet or non-alcoholic alternatives like Kolibri can have great benefits.

4.      Avoid bread where possible

Many people may not know, but bread contain an impressive amount of sugar in it and is on almost all menus in one way or another, whether that’s with soup, as sandwich or in a dessert. Choosing wholemeal breads over white and seeded loafs is an option if you can’t cut it out of your diet altogether.

Food on table

5.        Try vegetarian or vegan meals

Evaluate the option of eating from the vegan or vegetarian menu. Vegan and vegetarian options tend to have a lot less hidden sugar as opposed to meat and non-vegan dishes. Often with the addition of beneficial nutrients and veggies, you’re not going to feel guilty for indulging now and again. There is also nothing wrong with choosing vegan or vegetarian options on the menu, they’re just as tasty and almost always healthier.

6.      Choose a starter over dessert

Another great way of keeping sugar at bay is to choose a starter over a dessert, obviously most desserts are going to contain higher amounts of sugar than a starter or main course and are worth avoiding if possible. If necessary, choose fruit, sorbets, cheese boards or a black coffee, this way you are still enjoying a third course but don’t need to feel guilty for the added sugar.

It’s a new year and I know some of you are still struggling to find a resolution that suits your lifestyle, and that’s okay. I think a low sugar diet is a great resolution for those looking to better their lifestyle. Health.com says that reducing sugar can reduce the risk of Type II Diabetes and Cancer and minimise the chances of fluctuating weight gain, it’s a no brainer in my eyes.

Next time you’re dining out, I would recommend taking a look at the menu and evaluating your options, you never know, choosing a low sugar diet and enjoying sugar-free drinks like Kolibri might be the start of a whole new lifestyle for you.