One of the most important parts of intuitive eating is to choose foods for pleasure and for satisfaction. When we truly eat what we want and enjoy, we will feel content after our meals and snacks. This is especially true when we go out for meals. How many times have you ordered a salad when you really wanted a burger? And then you went home and continued to eat even though you weren’t hungry because you didn’t feel satisfied? I hear you. I have been there many times. Eating what we truly want and desire in the moment is a key part of intuitive eating.
However, eating for health does play a role, but only once we have mastered the other steps of intuitive eating, such as tuning into hunger/fullness, giving ourselves unconditional permission to eat all foods, and seeing all foods as equal. This is because if we focus on the gentle nutrition part too soon in our intuitive eating journey, we run the risk of getting back into the diet mentality and external rules, rather than focusing on our body wisdom.
One of the questions I get asked a lot is about eating out, so I have put together the most nutritious options when eating out. This means you have this information to hand once you are ready for the gentle nutrition part of your intuitive eating journey. If you are not ready, then you can come back to this post later.
1. Thai. Stir fries with chicken, pork, fish and vegetables. Thai beef salad and steamed fish with ginger are also very nutritious. For the sides and starters, steamed vegetables, brown rice, papaya salad and tom yum soup are all nutrient dense options.
2. Indian. The most nutrient dense options include all of the vegetable-based dishes, including lentils, chick peas and kidney beans. All of the tandoori dishes, aloo gobi and dhal dishes. For the sides and starters, there is basmati rice, yogurt and tomato-based dips, chapati and plain naan bread.
3. Greek. Greek cuisine is full of nutrient dense foods. For mains there is the souvlaki dishes with chicken, pork, fish and lamb, and all of the vegetable based dishes. For starters and sides there is halloumi, stuffed vines leaves, stuffed capsicums, Greek salad, hummus, eggplant salad and tzatziki.
4. Italian.Just like Greek cuisine, there is lot of nutritious Italian foods. These include freshly made gnocchi and pasta with tomato and pesto-based sauces. Grilled fresh fish and meats served with vegetables. For sides and starters, you have grilled vegetables in olive oil, tomato and basil salad and minestrone soup.
5. Lebanese. There are also lots of nutritious middle eastern dishes. These include all the grilled meats and all vegetables-based dishes as well as baba ghanoush, hummus, tahini, fattoush, labne and tabbouleh.
6. Chinese. Anything steamed or grilled is the most nutrient dense. As well as the soups, rice noodles, fish and vegetables dishes in black bean sauce, beef and broccoli and mixed vegetables.
7. Mexican. All the grilled meat, fish and vegetables-based fajitas and tacos. Guacamole, ceviche, black beans, salsa and tortilla chips.
8. Vietnamese. This is one of my favourite cuisines. The most nutritious dishes include rice paper rolls, pho and all soups, vermicelli salad, lotus root salad, stir fried water spinach, greens stir-fried with garlic and grilled chicken satay.
9. Fish & Chips. Another one of my favourite cuisines especially at the beach. All the grilled options served with salad and vegetables are nutritious.
10. Japanese. The most nutritious dishes including sashimi, edamame, miso soup, and seaweed.
There you have it. The most nutritious options across 10 cuisines when eating out. Remember though to always choose what your body desires first and foremost, as this is more important.
If you would like to learn more about becoming an intuitive eater, download week 1 for free of my Nourish Me Intuitive eating and Wellbeing program here