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Eating out the healthy way: Top tips on maintaining good habits without giving up your social life

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Boasting one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in the world, Hong Kong is a foodie heaven. But with many of us eating out several times a week, it’s easy to slip into bad habits and make poor food choices. Here are eight top tips on how to stay healthy without giving up your social life.

1.  Read the menu before you go: Deciding  on what you’re going to eat before you get to a restaurant means you are less likely to make unhealthy choices in the spur of the moment, so be prepared and plan ahead.

2.  Order your meal first: How often have you sat in a restaurant and asked your fellow diners what they’re planning to eat? Avoid the temptation to mimic others by ordering your food before the rest of the table.

3.  Avoid buffets: Here in Hong Kong,  we all love a good buffet brunch, but the amount of calories we consume when there is free-flow food (and drink!) on offer can be huge. Opt for à la carte instead, and focus on selecting healthy choices.

4.  Cut the courses: While three-course meals in restaurants are somewhat of a tradition, in reality we don’t need to eat that much food. Try skipping the starter or opt for coffee instead of dessert.

5.  Pass on the bread: When hungry, it can be all too easy to nibble on the bread basket while waiting for your meal. Instead, try sipping water until your food arrives. That way, you’ll still have space for the main event and will fill up on nutritious grub instead of empty calories.

6.  Ask for dressings on the side: While salads may seem like an obvious healthy choice, the calorie and fat content can skyrocket when they are covered in a rich, creamy dressing. Ask for the dressing to be served separately so that you can control how much you consume.

7.  Stop eating when you’re full: This may sound obvious, but when you’re paying for a meal, it can be tempting to try and get value for your money. Listen to your stomach to avoid overeating.

8.  Choose your drinks wisely: Sharing a bottle of wine with a meal is a nice treat, but the high sugar content sees those calories soon stack up. Opt for low-sugar options such as fresh lime soda or choose spirits with low-calorie mixers.

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