Food lover’s eating out advisor: learn these trade offs to eat healthy

You eat out a lot and try a lot of different stuff, which would make it very difficult to eat healthy, right?

Not necessarily, knowing a bit about planning your meal and developing trade-offs (which means giving up on one item so that you can eat/ drink the other) can help you keep your diet healthy and still enjoy your food

To make sure that you eat healthy

a) keep your calorie intake within your allowance for the meal

b) keep your intake or bad fats and bad carbs in check

       Here is how:

Step 1. Have an idea of your total calorie allowance for each major meals and snack time during the day

The table below will give you estimated allowances for adult Indians

Calorie requirement/day estimates for Indian adults
Sex Height Weight(Kg) Age calorie allowance/day Calorie allowance in major meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snacks (assuming two snacks a day)
 (for older persons, deduct 200 calories from this allowance)
Women 5’7″ 65 35 1800 540 calories per meal / 90 calories per snack
Women 5’2″ 55 35 1600 480/80
Man 6’2″ 80 35 2400 720/120
Man 5’6″ 60 35 2000 600/100

2. Now, get an idea about serving size of food stuff that gives you 100 calories

This will help you make trade-off ‘number one’ which is focused on calories in the same meal

 ‘100 calorie equivalent’ of food stuff 
Rice  1/2 cup cooked
Roti  1 roti
Dal  1/2 cup cooked, excluding tadka
Meat  2 match box size pieces of cooked meat (excluding bones)
vegetables  1/2 cup cooked
milk  nearly one  (4/5th) glass (200 ml) toned milk
butter/ghee/oil  2.5 tea spoons (little less than 1 table spoon)
Gravy (when eating out) Assuming 1 tablespoon gravy has 1 teaspoon fat, three table spoons will give ~ 100 caloriesSome gravies will have less and some more!
 Salad dressing nearly 130-200 calories Check table
Egg  1.5 eggs or 6 egg whites or 3 egg whites+1 egg yolk (smart egg)
Fruits  1 banana, 6 inches long, 1 small to medium apple
Cola (300 ml)  132 calories
 Beer (1 pint)  106 calories in regular/lite and 139 in lager beer
 Whisky/Vodka etc.  one Large (60 ml)= 128 calories
 Wine  one small glass = 105 calories
 Cocktails  Check out the table

Knowing these will help you make a rough calculation of how much you can eat in your outing, for example, a dinner out, but remember to count all the calories: from drinks, food, dips, curry etc.

For example if your allowance is 500 calories and you want to really enjoy your steak (usually 3-4 oz portion size), which will be nearly 200 calories and have a pint of beer (130 calories), just go easy on the potato chips/fries and the dessert, so that they give you not more than 100 calories (nearly 1/3 rd of small order of french fries)

3. Keep  your intake of bad fats (SFA, cholesterol) and added sugars under limits

This is trade off number 2!

For this, firstly you should know, your allowance of SFA, cholesterol and sugars  (in terms of serving sizes of food stuff) and  secondly you should try to consume less than the allowance

Check out the SFA and cholesterol content table to know how much  meat/cheese etc. you can eat in a day so that you stay within the recommended limits

If you have gorged on food having SFA such that your daily limit is nearly reached compensate by not having any SFA containing stuff in the rest of the meals/snacks for the day.

It is going to require a bit of practice these ‘trade offs’, but once you master them, you can look forward to years of happy but healthy eating!

CHECK OUT: Our references for recommendations on diet