Winter has come to an end and hibernation season is over. We head into summer and start eating out more, and let’s face it probably start drinking more too.This leaves us in a bit of a dilemma, as we still wanting to look good on the beach. Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?

Healthier food choices are available in most restaurants as we become more and more health conscious. We are even getting low fat options at fast food spots, such as salads instead of fries, and opting for grilled instead of fried.

Top 12 tips on how to help make those healthier choices this summer:

1. Know your restaurants:

It makes it easier when the healthier choices are available. Try doing a bit of research by finding some online menus. All it takes is some googling, easy to track down tasty and healthy and restaurants.

2. Try not to arrive at a restaurant starving

Sticking to your five smaller meals in the day, will help prevent you reaching a level of hunger where you can make the wrong food choices or overeat. Including a light snack can help before you go to a restaurant or party, not as to ruin your appetite, but rather leaving you at hunger level where you can make a healthier food choice.

3. Save your appetite:

You are about to have a delicious meal, so avoid filling up on the bread put on the table. You can even ask the waiter to take it away, or not even bring it to your table. On arrival try ordering a big glass of water instead. If you choose bread with a light meal and a salad, ask for rye bread, as this is lower in calories and GI.

4. Listen to your body:

If the portion size is too much for you, it’s ok to leave food on your plate. It can be difficult as we have been conditioned to finish everything on our plate. But practice makes perfect, test it out. See if you can leave some food on your plate.

5. Eating Slowly:

This tip really helps you listen to your body as to when you have had enough to eat. It needs awareness so it can take some practice. Enjoy your mouthful and savour it.

6. Remember the ‘doggie bag’:

There is always the faithful ‘doggie bag’, if you do have any food leftover you can keep it for the next day.

7. More than one course:

If there is more than one course, remember to listen to your statiety levels. You don’t need to finish each plate full. Sharing can also help and then you can get the added benefit of trying a greater variety.

8. Drink water:

This is the best option when it comes to ‘what should I drink?’ Even if you do order something else, try and also include a glass or two of water.

9. What else to drink?

Keep it single and cold – opt for lots of ice. Steer clear from mixers, all drinks can be done with soda water or water. Try it – maybe you like it, add a few slices of lime or lemon see if that helps.

10. Beware to dress

Don’t dress your salad to kill. Keep it simple ad keep the dressing on the side. Balsamic vinegar or lemon juice are your best options.

11. A healthy plate:

The battle of:

Grilled vs Fried

Vegetables or salad vs Fries

Tomatoe based sauce vs Creamy sauces

12. Sharing is caring:

If you can’t resist having a dessert, go for it and share, you can share with the whole table. Everyone can have a small taster.

Being healthy is about listening to your body, not about feeling like you’re on a diet. If we can practice that then we start working towards a healthy lifestyle. Even if you think you’ve overindulged, one meal isn’t going to make us unhealthy. But not listening to our bodies and overeating will, as this becomes a habit.