A lot of people think that being on a weight loss journey means they can never go out to eat, and that’s not the case. Life is too short not to have a fun dinner out with your friends and loved ones every once in a while. Plus, the whole point of eating healthier is to learn to do it for the rest of your life, and you can’t go the rest of your life without ever dining at a restaurant…well, you could, but where’s the fun in that?
Instead of giving up restaurants completely on your journey to lose weight, you just have to learn how and what to order to make sure your meal out is healthy and nutritious and won’t derail your plans.
Tip #1: Plan Your Order Ahead of Time
First things first, it can always be helpful to plan out what you are going to order ahead of time. Most restaurants these days have their menus online, so you can go on and scour the menu for the healthiest options. Some of these websites will even contain nutritional information for different food items, so you can plan out your meal to the last detail. Knowing what you want to eat and having a plan will make it much easier to resist temptation when you sit down with your friends and will keep you from taking forever to decide what to eat.
Tip #2: Be Assertive
Sometimes, items on a restaurant’s menu can be made healthier just through a few simple changes, such as baking or broiling instead of frying or leaving off a serving of sauce. If you see an item that you’d like to have, except for just one or two details, speak up! Most restaurants will gladly accommodate your healthy requests, so don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be made your way.
Tip #3: Ignore the Freebies
A lot of restaurants will place some kind of “freebie” food on the table automatically, such as bread and butter or chips and salsa. Resist the temptation to indulge in these foods, which, while money-free, are definitely not calorie-free. If you’re having a hard time staring down the treat in front of you, kindly ask your waiter to remove it or refuse it before it can even be put down in front of you.
Tip #4: Get a To-Go Box
Instead of asking for a to-go box at the end of your meal, request one right upfront. Don’t worry; enough people know this trick so that your waiter won’t look at you funny! When your meal arrives, take half of it and store it away for later and then eat what remains. This will keep you from over-consuming due to the typically extra-large portions restaurants serve up. Plus, it will give you more bang for your buck by providing two meals instead of just one.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to enjoy a meal out…without ruining your diet. Follow these tips to stay on track when dining out.