Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being a social butterfly simultaneously is not an easy task. When I first got into healthy eating this was the biggest struggle I faced, because let’s face it choosing to order a salad while everyone else chows down on their burgers and extra cheesy pizza requires lots and lots of self control.

A point that many miss is that being healthy is not about depriving yourself or vowing to never eat chocolate cake again. Rather, it’s about planning your days smart and learning to indulge in moderation. Getting into the 80% healthy, 20% indulge routine will do wonders for your body and mind.

When it comes to eating out, you can make some little amendments that will save you lots of calories. The number one rule you should always follow is to never go to a restaurant feeling extremely hungry. We have all done this before and it always, always results in over ordering and overeating. Instead, have a light meal one or two hours before you leave the house. That way, you can indulge in small quantities of the foods you love while you are out. Many restaurants now offer half portions, or you can ask for half of your meal to be prepared for takeaway before it even arrives at the table.

Saying goodbye to soft drinks and artificial juices is one of the best decisions you can make for your health. Order water with your meal instead. It will hydrate your body much more efficiently and you won’t be getting any of the empty calories from drinks, which cause weight gain.If you are someone who can’t deny their sweet tooth, try splitting dessert with your friends. Chances are, you will be too full after your main meal anyway to finish a full dessert on your own, and halving the amount of sugar and butter you are putting into your body is never a bad thing. And always remember, “Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.”

Donia Hilal is a certified nutritionist with a degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. Her work focuses on women’s health in the Middle East, wellness, weight loss, and optimal pre- and post-natal nutrition. Passionate about real food and evidence based nutrition advice, Donia welcomes and enjoys guiding clients throughout every stage of their journey towards a healthier, happier life.