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Tips for Dining Out

Tips for Dining Out on a Diet

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There is a great deal of information out there about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dieting. In fact, every diet on the planet has the “Best Tips” for their program to be a successful diet and that includes tips for dining out on a diet and how to treat your self to a meal away from home.

Dining out can be scary for someone on a diet. You’ve spent all week weighing, calculating, measuring, tweaking, or de-salting your food to get the most mileage out of your diet and now it is time for a meal out. But how do you avoid having your dining out experience set you back a week in your diet?

Why Look for Tips for Dining Out on a Diet

Dining out at a restaurant is often a relaxed social meal in which we all love to participate. A large percent of our social life is geared around food.

Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws, your birthday at your favorite restaurant, Bill’s promotion at work, and the list goes on. This kind of dinner doesn’t have to set you back a week in your diet, nor does it have to feel like you must go without while everyone else around you indulges. Almost everyone can agree on a few tips for dining that are wise, not just calorie-wise.

Check Out These Helpful Tips to Get You Started

Whether you are trying to slim down, or would simply like to stay a little healthier as the years start to add up, the following are great tips for dining out on a diet:

  • Order or choose your protein to be poached, steamed, baked, grilled, boiled, broiled or roasted instead of fried, coated, or dipped.
  • Order all sauces and dressings on the side. That way you control the amount that is added to your meal.
  • Avoid creamy sauces and soups and choose tomato based or broth-based sauces instead.
  • Order ½ portions, or if they are not available, share with a friend or ask the waiter to wrap half of it up right away so there is no chance of over-eating.
  • Ask to swap a carbohydrate (pasta, potato etc) with additional seasonal veggies (without the cheese sauce of course because you know it won’t be low fat cheese!).
  • Order from the appetizer menu only but watch how it is prepared. A lot of appetizers are famous for deep frying.
  • Stay away from the “free bread”. It isn’t free if you consume ½ your daily caloric intake before you are even served the meal.
  • Water, water, water! Heard it before, haven’t you? Well, there are a lot less calories in water (0%) than the 200+ calories you will get in a soda or wine.
  • When you can’t avoid a buffet, choose a smaller plate and just because it is “all you can eat”; don’t. You have worked too hard all week to blow it now.

Remember, rather than getting your money’s worth by cleaning your plate, get satisfaction by custom ordering what you need to stay on track with your weight loss goals. There is no crime in asking for something a little off the regular menu. Most places are happy to make it happen. If they aren’t then they don’t deserve your patronage.

Healthy Eating Tips for Dining Out

There are many times when we dine out because we are simply too rushed to cook. These hurried moments usually lead to the worst, most unsatisfying dining out experiences because in our haste we grab something convenient, which is seldom “healthy”. If you are dining out frequently because of your busy schedule, then try these tips that will save you time and your diet: 

  • Plan your meals a few days in advance. Leftovers are a great lunch or dinner for the next day if you find yourself without time to cook. To learn more, see Healthy Shopping.
  • If you do decide to dine out because of lack of time, choose healthy menu items and stay away from deep fried foods and carbohydrate fillers.
  • Check out the menu ahead of time. Most restaurants now post their menus online. Take a moment to check your phone and see what’s on the menu.  Give yourself enough time to look into some of the types of ingredients used in various dishes so you’ll get a ballpark idea of the nutrient facts for a given dish.  This will help you to make the right choice when ordering, and you’ll know how much of it to eat while you’re there and how much you will bring home for another meal.
  • Don’t get bullied into having something you don’t want. Just because your friend thinks that dessert is great or that creamy, cheesy dish is to die for, it doesn’t mean it needs to be what you order. Order what you want.  Even if your friends or family members are being pushy at first, they’ll have to back off.  The ordering opportunity is only so long.  If they insist that you try something, tell them you’ll try one taste of it if it’s what they’re ordering, but that you prefer your own selection.