Ahlaam Ali of weight-loss consultancy Powwer Eat reveals her top tips for avoiding a calorific catastrophe on your next night out.
• The first rule of thumb is to avoid the buffet – always order a la carte. Buffets are bad news for portion control.
• Avoid the bread basket and butter – if you want to nibble, ask for vegetable crudites with hummus or moutabal, or no dip at all.
• Order a salad full of colourful vegetables as a starter, but ask for the dressing on the side. Choose vinaigrette over a creamy Thousand Island, ranch or cheesy dressing.
• When ordering your main course, choose dishes that are grilled, baked, barbecued or pan-fried.
• For all courses, avoid white or cheesy sauces, and opt instead for tomato-based options.
• If you can, order green tea instead of grape beverages, fruit juice or soda. Sip the green tea throughout the meal – it aids digestion.
• When you get to dessert avoid cheese and rich cakes and go for a sorbet.
If you order ice-cream, ask for extra spoons so you can share it with others and divide out the calories.
• Spend time looking through the menu and weighing up your options – most fine-dining restaurants are happy to answer questions about the ingredients, and will modify them to suit your needs, for example steaming vegetables instead of sautéing them in butter.