Restaurant dishes to maintain a healthy diet in retirement
Our beautiful café-bistro will open at our first village later this year, in Watford in Hertfordshire. Our menu will include a variety of light and indulgent dishes, all freshly prepared to order.
Until then, here are some top tips on how to maintain a healthy diet when eating out.
Maintaining a healthy diet during your retirement may seem like a hard task when eating out at a restaurant, but it doesn’t have to be. Certain ingredients and dish choices typically provide more nutritional value than others, so here are some dishes we’d recommend to avoid the much-dreaded menu panic. We’ve also included a few considerations that should help you make more informed culinary decisions.
As dishes go, recipes that include salmon are full of nutrients, Omega-3 fatty acids and minerals. Salmon is relatively low in calories, but packs a punch with benefits that improve heart health, cholesterol levels and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
If you’re combining a healthy diet with a regular strength training routine, then consuming a protein-rich diet is also beneficial to your muscle growth and increased strength. The good news is salmon is a protein-filled fish, with 20g of protein per 100g serving. With various cuisines using salmon as a staple ingredient in their menu options, you can enjoy a gorgeous meal knowing that your healthy diet is still on track.
With a shift from mostly meat-based dishes, restaurants are slowly increasing the amount of plant-based options on their menu. For those who haven’t tried a vegan dish before, they’re typically full of vegetables, healthy ingredients and tonnes of flavour that easily make up for the lack of meat.
Most dishes can be converted to a vegan alternative with a little imagination, so even your restaurant favourites can still be enjoyed. The concentrated nutrients and protein in vegan alternatives usually leaves diners feeling fuller for longer, without having to deal with the energy burnout you sometimes experience from a meat-based meal.
Grilled chicken dishes
Grilled chicken is a great option that will keep you full all afternoon, thanks to its high protein content. As the oil drips off of the chicken during the grilling process, you’ll be consuming less fat and more of the good stuff. In comparison to fried chicken, grilled is a much healthier choice. You can also benefit from the amino acids it contains, which aside from helping with muscle growth, also improve bone density.
The rise in popularity of spiralized food means it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. For those looking to get as many nutrients and vegetables in their meals as possible, spiralized spaghetti provides a great opportunity to do so. With courgettes and carrots being the usual root vegetables of choice, this mock spaghetti is made by passing the vegetable through a spiralizer. The healthy curls will give you all the benefits of eating vegetables, and reduce your carb intake if you’re looking to do so. Fortunately, ‘courgetti’ doesn’t have to be a dish solely enjoyed in a restaurant, spiralizers are now readily available to buy from as little as £9.99.
Things to keep in mind when sticking to a healthy diet
Dish sizes are larger
Larger portion sizes are often commonplace in restaurants, however eating large amounts of food in one go can cause us to double our calorie count. Rather than eating the whole dish that’s in front of you, eat mindfully by taking your time with each mouthful. This will allow you to spot when you’ve satisfied your hunger, giving you the opportunity to come to a natural ‘stopping’ point. Anything that’s left over can be boxed up by the restaurant and taken home with you, so you can enjoy it all over again the next day!
Look out for sauces
Even if your dish is filled with healthy ingredients containing all the right nutrients and protein, calorie-filled sauces can turn your main course into a much unhealthier version of itself. Whilst it’s important we indulge in flavour-filled food for improved mental health, it’s also a point worth noting for those who are trying to stay away from high calorie meals. Feel free to ask your server for more information on the sauces accompanying your dish of choice, and if need be, ask for it to be omitted.
Method of cooking
As with all dishes, the method of cooking a meal can make or break its overall ‘healthy’ credentials. Even plant-based dishes can’t be assumed to be inherently healthy when the overall cooking process is taken into account. The type of cooking, amount of oil or fat used and the length of time a dish is cooked all contribute to its overall health. When in doubt, ask the server for the healthiest option or ask to replace a certain cooking method, such as grilled chicken over fried in a main course dish.
Restaurant dishes can be part of a healthy diet
When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet during your retirement, remember it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. Although many online health trends suggest reducing carbs, certain fats and sugars in your diet, consulting your GP before any big lifestyle changes is a must.
Check out more top tips for a healthy lifestyle on the Mayfield retirement blog.