Trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you have to give up eating out altogether. With some smart planning and savvy choices, you can still enjoy a meal at a restaurant while staying on track with your weight loss goals. Here are 7 tips to help you navigate the menu and make healthier choices when eating out.
1. Research the restaurant beforehand. Before you head out to eat, take a few minutes to look up the menu online. Many restaurants now provide nutritional information, so you can see which dishes are lower in calories and fat. Knowing what options are available can help you make a better choice.
2. Control portion sizes. Restaurants often serve large portions, which can lead to overeating. To avoid this, consider sharing a dish with a friend or ask for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal to portion out half of your meal for later. You can also choose an appetizer or starter as your main course, as these are typically smaller portions.
3. Be mindful of cooking methods. Opt for dishes that are grilled, steamed, or baked instead of fried. These cooking methods generally use less oil and result in lower calorie options. Look for keywords on the menu like “grilled,” “steamed,” or “baked” to make healthier choices.
- Yes, You Can Enjoy Restaurant Cuisine and Not Wreck Your Diet
- 1. Plan Ahead
- 2. Be Mindful of Portions
- 4. Watch Out for Hidden Calories
- 5. Keep Alcohol Consumption in Check
- 6. Slow Down and Savor
- 7. Don’t Skip Meals
- Know What’s on the Menu Before You Get There
- Ask Questions and Make Substitutions
- Stick to Your Plan
- Watch It When It Comes to the Bread Basket and the Apps
- Remember to stay hydrated
- Be mindful of hidden ingredients
- Don’t Forget About Liquid Calories (They Add Up Quickly!)
- Beware of Sneaky Calories on Salads and Veggies
- Opt for Light Entrées – and Take Notice of Portion Sizes
- Don’t Let Your Sweet Tooth Be Your Downfall
- Focus on Quality Over Quantity – and Be Picky
Yes, You Can Enjoy Restaurant Cuisine and Not Wreck Your Diet
When you’re trying to lose weight, dining out at restaurants can be a challenge. The temptations of delicious food and oversized portions can make sticking to your diet feel impossible. However, with a little planning and mindfulness, you can enjoy restaurant cuisine without sabotaging your weight loss goals.
1. Plan Ahead
Before heading out to a restaurant, take a few minutes to review the menu online. Look for healthier options such as grilled proteins, steamed vegetables, and salads. Planning ahead will allow you to make a more informed decision when it comes time to order.
2. Be Mindful of Portions
Restaurants are notorious for serving oversized portions, which can quickly derail your diet. To avoid overeating, consider sharing a meal with a friend or asking for a to-go box when your meal arrives and portioning out a reasonable amount before you start eating.
3. Ask for Modifications
Don’t be afraid to ask your server for modifications to your meal. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side, substitute fries for a side salad, or request grilled instead of fried. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate dietary requests, so don’t hesitate to ask.
4. Watch Out for Hidden Calories
Some restaurant dishes may seem healthy but are loaded with hidden calories. Be cautious of dishes that are fried, creamy, or heavily sauced. Opt for grilled, steamed, or broiled options instead.
5. Keep Alcohol Consumption in Check
Alcoholic beverages can be a source of hidden calories when dining out. Stick to lower-calorie options such as light beer, wine, or mixed drinks made with soda water instead of sugary mixers.
6. Slow Down and Savor
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of dining out and rush through your meal. However, eating slowly and savoring each bite can help you feel satisfied with less food. Put your fork down between bites and engage in conversation to enjoy the experience fully.
7. Don’t Skip Meals
Many people make the mistake of skipping meals before going out to eat to “save up” their calories. However, this can lead to overeating later on. Instead, stick to your regular meal schedule and have a light snack before going to the restaurant to curb your appetite.
By following these tips, you can enjoy restaurant cuisine while staying on track with your weight loss goals. Remember, it’s all about balance and making mindful choices that align with your health and well-being.
Know What’s on the Menu Before You Get There
When trying to lose weight, eating out can be a challenge. However, with a little preparation, you can still enjoy a meal at a restaurant while staying on track with your goals. One of the most important tips is to know what’s on the menu before you even get to the restaurant. This way, you can make a more informed decision about what to order and avoid any last-minute temptation.
Before heading out, take some time to research the restaurant’s menu online. Many restaurants now have their menus available on their websites, so you can easily check the options beforehand. Pay attention to the descriptions of the dishes and look for keywords like “grilled,” “steamed,” or “baked,” which are usually healthier choices than “fried” or “breaded.”
Once you have an idea of what’s available, try to plan your meal in advance. Look for dishes that include lean proteins, like chicken or fish, as well as plenty of vegetables. Opt for whole grain or brown rice instead of white rice or pasta. If possible, choose a salad or soup as a starter to help fill you up with less calories.
Ask Questions and Make Substitutions
When you arrive at the restaurant, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the menu. Inquire about the preparation methods and ask for substitutions if necessary. For example, you can ask for steamed vegetables instead of fries or a side salad instead of mashed potatoes. Most restaurants are willing to accommodate your requests to help you meet your dietary needs.
Remember to be mindful of portion sizes as well. Many restaurants serve oversized portions, so consider sharing a meal with a friend or ordering a half portion. You can also ask for a to-go box in advance and pack up half of your meal to enjoy later. This way, you can still enjoy a delicious meal while keeping your calorie intake in check.
Stick to Your Plan
Lastly, it’s important to stick to your plan when eating out. Avoid getting swayed by what others are ordering or giving in to the temptation of indulgent desserts. Stay focused on your goals and remind yourself of the progress you’ve made so far. Don’t be afraid to politely decline offers that don’t align with your healthy eating plan.
In conclusion, knowing what’s on the menu before you get to a restaurant can make a significant difference when trying to lose weight. By doing your research, asking questions, making substitutions, and sticking to your plan, you can still enjoy dining out without compromising your weight loss goals.
Watch It When It Comes to the Bread Basket and the Apps
When trying to lose weight, dining out can be a challenge. The temptation to indulge in bread baskets and appetizers can be hard to resist. However, with a little bit of mindfulness and planning, you can enjoy dining out while staying on track with your weight loss goals.
Firstly, it’s important to watch your intake when it comes to the bread basket. Bread can be high in calories and carbs, so it’s best to limit your consumption. Try to opt for healthier options like whole wheat bread or ask the server to skip the bread altogether.
Additionally, be cautious with appetizers. While they may seem small and harmless, they can often be loaded with calories and unhealthy ingredients. Look for lighter options like salads or vegetable-based appetizers. If you do indulge in a heavier appetizer, try to balance it out with a lighter main course.
Another tip is to practice portion control. Restaurants often serve oversized portions, which can easily lead to overeating. Consider sharing a meal with a friend or ordering a half portion. If that’s not an option, take half of your meal home for later.
Furthermore, pay attention to the preparation methods used by the restaurant. Fried, breaded, and creamy dishes tend to be higher in calories. Opt for grilled, steamed, or baked options instead. Don’t be afraid to ask the server about healthier substitutions or modifications.
Remember to stay hydrated
Drinking water throughout your meal can help you feel fuller and prevent overeating. It’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can keep your appetite in check. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol, as they can add unnecessary calories to your meal.
Be mindful of hidden ingredients
Some sauces, dressings, and toppings can pack a surprising amount of calories. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side so that you can control your portion. Consider swapping creamy dressings for vinaigrettes or opting for fresh lemon juice as a healthier alternative.
In conclusion, dining out doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your weight loss goals. By being mindful of your choices and making smart substitutions, you can enjoy a meal out while still staying on track.
Don’t Forget About Liquid Calories (They Add Up Quickly!)
When you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to pay attention to more than just the food you eat at restaurants. Don’t forget about the calories in the drinks you consume as well. Liquid calories can add up quickly and significantly impact your weight loss progress.
Sodas, alcoholic beverages, and sugary drinks are often loaded with calories and provide little to no nutritional value. It’s easy to overlook these liquid calories, but they can contribute to weight gain and hinder your efforts to shed pounds.
To stay on track with your weight loss goals while dining out, opt for water, unsweetened tea, or other low-calorie beverages. These options are not only hydrating but also contain zero or minimal calories.
If you prefer to indulge in an alcoholic drink, be mindful of your choices. Opt for light beer or spirits mixed with low-calorie mixers, and limit your consumption. Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and can also lower inhibitions, making it easier to overeat.
When ordering coffee or specialty drinks, be cautious of the added sugars and creams that can contribute to calorie overload. Choose unsweetened options or use artificial sweeteners sparingly, and opt for skim milk or alternatives like almond milk instead of full-fat cream.
|150 calories (approximately)
|150-200 calories (approximately)
|300-500 calories (approximately)
|Latte (with whole milk and sugar)
|200-400 calories (approximately)
|Unsweetened Iced Tea
By being mindful of your drink choices, you can avoid consuming excessive liquid calories while enjoying meals out. Remember, even a few extra calories from drinks can hinder your weight loss progress, so choose wisely and sip mindfully!
Beware of Sneaky Calories on Salads and Veggies
When you’re trying to lose weight, salads and veggies can seem like a safe choice when eating out. However, it’s important to be aware of sneaky calories that can hide in these seemingly healthy options.
Many restaurants add high-calorie dressings, toppings, and sauces to their salads, which can quickly turn a healthy choice into a calorie bomb. To avoid this, ask for dressings and sauces on the side so you can control the amount you use.
Additionally, be cautious of salad toppings like croutons, cheese, and bacon bits. These add-ons can add a significant amount of calories and fat to your otherwise healthy salad. Consider skipping them altogether or choosing healthier alternatives like sliced almonds or grilled chicken.
When it comes to cooked veggies, they can often be prepared with added oils, butter, or heavy sauces that can increase the calorie content. To keep your veggie dishes healthy, ask for them to be steamed or grilled with minimal added fats.
Lastly, be careful of portion sizes. Restaurants often serve large portions, including generous amounts of salads and veggies. Remember to listen to your body’s hunger cues and eat until you feel satisfied, rather than eating everything on your plate just because it’s there. Consider asking for a takeout container and save the leftovers for another meal.
By being mindful of these sneaky calories on salads and veggies, you can enjoy a healthy meal while still working towards your weight loss goals.
Opt for Light Entrées – and Take Notice of Portion Sizes
When trying to lose weight, choosing lighter entrées can make a significant difference in your calorie intake. Look for options such as grilled or baked fish, skinless chicken breast, or lean cuts of meat like sirloin steak. These dishes are often lower in calories and fat compared to fried or breaded alternatives.
Additionally, paying attention to portion sizes is crucial. Many restaurants serve oversized meals that can easily derail your weight loss efforts. To avoid overeating, consider splitting an entrée with a friend or asking for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and portioning out an appropriate amount of food.
|Tips for Opting for Light Entrées and Watching Portion Sizes:
|1. Choose grilled or baked options instead of fried or breaded
|2. Select dishes with lean cuts of meat or skinless chicken breast
|3. Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid oversized meals
|4. Consider sharing an entrée with a friend
|5. Ask for a to-go box at the start of the meal to portion out an appropriate amount
By opting for lighter entrées and being mindful of portion sizes, you can still enjoy eating out while staying on track with your weight loss goals.
Don’t Let Your Sweet Tooth Be Your Downfall
When you’re trying to lose weight, one of the biggest challenges can be resisting the temptation of desserts and sugary treats. However, with a little bit of planning and self-control, you can still enjoy a sweet treat while staying on track with your goals.
Here are some tips to help you satisfy your sweet tooth without throwing off your diet:
|1. Choose wisely.
|When looking at the dessert menu, opt for options that are lower in calories and sugar. Fresh fruit, sorbet, or a small piece of dark chocolate can be great choices.
|2. Share with a friend.
|If you can’t resist ordering a more indulgent dessert, consider sharing it with a friend or family member. This way, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming the entire portion yourself.
|3. Plan ahead.
|If you know you’re going out to eat and will likely be tempted by desserts, plan your meals accordingly. Make sure to choose lighter options for your main course so that you have some calorie room to spare.
|4. Drink water.
|Sometimes, we mistake thirst for hunger and end up reaching for something sweet. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day to avoid unnecessary cravings.
|5. Practice portion control.
|Instead of completely depriving yourself of desserts, try eating smaller portions. This way, you can still enjoy a taste of something sweet without going overboard.
|6. Indulge mindfully.
|When you do decide to have a sweet treat, take your time and savor each bite. Pay attention to the flavors and textures, and fully enjoy the experience.
|7. Find healthier alternatives.
|If you’re craving something sweet, look for healthier alternatives. For example, you could try making your own desserts using ingredients like Greek yogurt, unsweetened cocoa powder, or natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
Remember, it’s all about balance and moderation. Don’t let your sweet tooth derail your weight loss efforts. By following these tips, you can still enjoy the occasional treat while staying on track with your goals.
Focus on Quality Over Quantity – and Be Picky
When you’re trying to lose weight and eating out, it’s important to prioritize quality over quantity. Don’t be afraid to be picky and make healthier choices. Here are some tips to help you focus on quality:
- Opt for restaurants that offer healthier options on their menu. Look for dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried.
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken, fish, or lean cuts of beef. Avoid dishes that are overly processed or high in fat.
- Load up on vegetables by choosing salads or dishes that are packed with veggies. Avoid heavy sauces or dressings that can add unnecessary calories.
- Be mindful of portion sizes. Many restaurants serve large portions, so consider sharing a meal or ask for a half portion to help control your calorie intake.
- Avoid sugary drinks and opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water instead. These options are calorie-free and can help quench your thirst without adding extra calories.
- Ask for modifications or substitutions. Don’t be afraid to ask for things like dressing on the side, steamed vegetables instead of fries, or whole-grain bread instead of white bread.
- Listen to your body and eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues to prevent overeating.
Remember, it’s okay to be picky when it comes to your food choices. Prioritizing quality and making healthier choices while eating out can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.