Individuals often find it difficult to lose weight when they are faced with the temptation of dining out with friends and family. Without you even realising it, dining out several times a week can add inches to your waistline. Furthermore, many of us underestimate how many calories we are consuming when dining out even when we choose another meal option which we think is healthier. However, you don’t always need to say no to social outings and stay at home with a salad, here at Love Your Gut we have taken some of our favourite restaurant and takeaway meal choices and put together some healthier alternatives: try following some of our tips on dining out healthily in order to make your next dining experience guilt free.

You may want to rethink that Friday night curry knowing that the average restaurant or takeaway Chicken Tikka Masala contains a whopping 1,400 calories when served with rice and a naan. Favourite Indian dishes such as Tikka Masala and Korma are made using large amounts of oil, cream and coconut milk making them very high in calories and fat. If Tikka Masala is your favourite, you could try swapping it for Tandoori Chicken or Chicken Tikka. These dishes which are also marinated with garlic, ginger and yogurt have similar flavours to Tikka Masala but are instead dry cooked in a tandoori oven without the excess cream and oil making it a much healthier alternative. By swapping to this dish and pairing it with a side salad and some plain rice you could be consuming nearly 1000 fewer calories. If you prefer a saucier dish, try opting for a more tomato based curry such as Jalfrezi which also has fewer calories.

‘Spring rolls starter, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg Fried Rice please.’ That’s around 2,000 calories- the recommended daily amount of calories for a physically active woman in just one meal. Many Chinese dishes are deep fried and contain large amounts of sugar- adding to the calories significantly. A slightly healthier option with fewer calories would be Chicken Chow Mein or a noodle soup dish. An average Chicken Chow Mein will contain around 800 calories whereas some vegetable noodle soups can contain around 500 calories. Avoid extras such as prawn crackers and spring rolls as these can add significant amounts of calories to the meal.

When going out for pizza try swapping your meat loaded stuffed crust for a thin crust Marinara Pizza. Marinara Pizza is a classic Neapolitan pizza- a bit like a Margarita but without the cheese. Some large meat stuffed crust pizzas can contain up to 3,000 calories. If you swap for the Marinara you could be eating over 2,000 calories fewer- with the average Marinara Pizza containing around 500-600 calories. Try adding some extra vegetables or chicken to your pizza if you prefer a more loaded topping. If you are a pasta lover choose tomato based pasta sauces such as Spaghetti Pomodoro and stay away from dishes such as Carbonara which can contain up to 1,000 calories.

Instead of going out for dinner you could try making this super easy gut friendly recipe below to be good to your waistline as well as your gut:

Gut friendly chicken and aubergine curry. (Serves 4)
• 1 can chopped tomatoes
• 6 tsp of tikka masala paste
• 1 tsp chopped ginger
• 1 handful chopped fresh coriander
• 3 chopped chicken breasts
• 1 aubergine, sliced into cubes
• 200 ml reduced fat coconut milk
• Juice of half a lemon
• Salt and black pepper
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil

• Fry the aubergine and chicken in a pan with the oil over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
• Add the curry paste and chopped ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
• Add the chopped tomatoes and coconut milk and simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.
• Towards the end of cooking, add the fresh coriander, lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.
• Serve with rice or wholemeal pitta bread.