Craving a night out with friends or a special dinner date? Eating out doesn’t have to derail your weight loss efforts! With a little bit of planning and some savvy decision-making, you can enjoy dining out while staying true to your health goals.
The key is to arm yourself with smart strategies that will help you make healthy choices without feeling deprived.
Below, we unveil 12 insider tips to navigate restaurants like a pro, ensuring that your taste buds and your waistline both leave satisfied. Get ready to savor the flavors of your favorite eateries while keeping your weight loss journey on track!
1. Scope out the menu beforehand
Research the restaurant’s menu online and look for healthier options. Identify dishes that are grilled, roasted, or steamed, and opt for lean protein sources and vegetables.
2. Watch out for hidden calories
Be cautious of menu items labeled as “creamy,” “crispy,” or “fried.” These descriptors often mean higher calorie and fat content. Instead, choose dishes that are baked, grilled, or broiled for a lighter option.
3. Control your portions
Restaurant portions can be larger than necessary. Consider sharing an entrée with a friend or ask for a takeout box right away and portion out half of your meal to save for later.
4. Load up on veggies
Make vegetables the star of your meal by ordering a side of steamed or roasted veggies or asking for extra veggies in your dish. They’re packed with nutrients and fiber while being lower in calories.
5. Be mindful of dressings and sauces
Many dressings and sauces can be calorie-dense. Opt for vinaigrettes, salsas, or ask for dressings on the side, so you have better control over the amount you use.
6. Control liquid calories
Alcoholic beverages, sugary sodas, and fancy cocktails can add up to a significant calorie intake. Choose water, unsweetened tea, or opt for a light or low-calorie drink option.
7. Practice portion control with appetizers
Appetizers can be tempting, but they can also add unnecessary calories. Share a starter or choose a healthier option like a salad or broth-based soup.
8. Customize your order
Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications to meet your dietary needs. Request substitutions like steamed vegetables instead of fries or a side salad instead of pasta.
9. Slow down and savor each bite
Eating slowly allows your body to recognize when it’s full, preventing overeating. Put down your utensils between bites, engage in conversation, and enjoy the experience.
10. Be cautious of “all you can eat” options
Buffets and unlimited specials can make it easy to overindulge. Approach these situations mindfully and choose a balanced plate with plenty of vegetables and lean protein.
11. Stay hydrated
Drink water throughout your meal to stay hydrated and help control your appetite. Sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking or overeating.
12. Practice self-compassion
Remember that one indulgent meal won’t derail your progress. If you splurge a bit, forgive yourself, and get back on track with your healthy habits at the next meal.