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Café culture and counting calories

August 5, 2011

Being born and bred in Melbourne, going out for a café breakfast/brunch/lunch on the weekend is second nature.

Trying to lose weight in winter has many factors stacked up against you (winter food is denser, it’s colder outside to exercise etc.) but the fact that we tend to go out for brekky less in the cold and wet months is definitely a positive when it comes to shedding the excess.

The calorie laden (yet amazingly delicious) pancakes at Las Chicas

Several months ago I went out for breakfast at Las Chicas in St Kilda and ordered the pancakes.  My serve came with strawberries, banana, a huge dollop of ricotta and syrup. I couldn’t finish my plate, but I tell you I gave it a good go!

I left breakfast feeling stuffed. And with a mental note to order the half serve next time.

Many months later and I am 11 weeks in to my 12 Week Body Transformation and going out for pancakes is definitely off the menu.

But having said that going out to cafés on the weekend is a Melbourne institution, I really don’t want to have to give up this lifestyle. And I don’t really want to have to give up pancakes either!

Here are a couple of solutions to the café culture and counting calories.

1. Cook up a café style breakfast at home using some low calorie recipes.
Not only does this help your hips, but your hip pocket as well.
Some ideas:
– Poached eggs with Weight Watchers bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach
– ‘Brekky wrap’ – WW bacon, an egg & some rocket encased in a piece of Mountain Bread
– Buttermilk pancakes with berries and yoghurt (be careful which buttermilk pancake recipe you use!)
– Smoked salmon and low-fat ricotta on toast
– Avocado and tomato on toast

2. If going out, choose lighter options such as muesli, fruit salad and porridge.

3. Go out for an early lunch instead of breakfast. We are programmed in this city to think that going out for breakfast needs to be something big and unhealthy. Make wiser choices such as soups and salads. You will still get the café culture vibe! Especially if you grab a coffee as well!

Just recently I went for an early lunch to Monk Bodhi Dharma in St Kilda and ordered the Moroccan soup. It was delicious, weight loss friendly and I was treating myself to go out for a meal.

Moroccan pumpkin soup and avocado on toast at Monk Bodhi Dharma. And a really great coffee!

Things to stay away from when going out for a weekend breakfast:

1. Portion size. These meals are about 3 times the size of what you actually need to eat for breakfast. Do not feel the need to eat everything on your plate. Consider sharing a meal.

2. If you get a choice of breads for your toast choose a wholemeal option. And don’t eat all the bread, you usually get 2-3 serves on the plate when 1 is ample.

3. Choose to have your eggs served poached, or scrambled.

4. Avoid hollandaise sauces, pancakes, hash browns, croissants, danishes.

5. Do not order an extra side of bacon!

All in all, you can still have your special weekend brekkies if you’re a bit smarter about how you go about it. Making the right choices is important as is staying away from temptation and cooking brekky at home. Consider limiting your café breakfasts to one per month, and then when that one comes around stick to making the best choices possible.

Healthy living certainly doesn’t have to be boring!

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