If you are an expat or even living in a city then the chances are that your nutrition looks a little like this. Either eat out regularly, order in quite often or both. When I first moved to Bangkok as an expat I didn't cook for the first 3 years. I ate out or ordered food panda (our delivery service in BKK) every single day.
Why? It was convenient, cheap and I didn't want to spend the time cooking. Things have changed quite a lot since then but the reality is that 20%-40% of my meals still come from someone else preparing them. I am sure that for many expats or city dwellers they have a similar ratio, maybe even more. I totally understand why.
So with this in mind, it is important that we have some guidelines to follow when we let someone else take control of what we eat. Instead of completely relinquishing control, we can certain aspects of how we eat.
Build your base. No, that base doesn't need to be a pizza base or a spaghetti base or a bread base but instead a base of protein and veggies. Does this mean you cannot have starchy carbs or anything like that, of course not. Starchy carbs have a place in our diet, they just do not need to be your base.
"add to your list"
Create your list. There are healthy nutrition options everywhere if you look for them. I know where I live in Bangkok there are so many places; like Tonic, Genius bar and Honey Bear which are my personal favorites. One question I get clients to go through is "Show me your last 5 orders and ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 are these restaurants the best restaurants you could order from in terms of health". if the answer is below a 5 then its a good time to add to your list.
Take control. if you are eating out or ordering in. Don't relinquish complete control. If someone else is dictating where you eat or what you order then you are leaving it up to chance. Take control of your decisions, be proactive and make your own choices. If you are eating out for lunch with colleagues then you chose where to eat and people will follow. Don't be the sheep, be the Shepard.
If you follow these 3 basic guidelines then you are setting yourself up for success. Of course it is better to cook because you know exactly what is in your meals, there are no hidden ingredients and you are in control of the portions. Lets be real though, convenience eating is, well, convenient and it can be a very useful tool if managed correctly.
For a more in depth idea of controlling your eating in and out then follow the link here, send me a message and I will send you over the complete guide to eating out as an expat.