dining out 101

How To Stick To Your Diet When Eating At A Restaurant

Seven short, sweet and totally doable tips.

Eating at a restaurant is about so much more than the meal: It’s a time for us to connect with friends and family, it gives us a well-needed break from the kitchen, and it provides a nice change in scenery, one that allows us to feel energetically involved in our community.

All of this said, Eating at a restaurant can be a struggle for those of us who have weight loss goals to meet or maintain. Many of us have very strong stories we tell ourselves when it comes to eating restaurant food: “I won’t enjoy myself if I’m not eating the chips and queso.” “All of my friends are going to be uncomfortable if I don’t order a drink.” “It’s not worth the money if I am just going to order a salad that I could make at home.” …And so on. These “stories” prevent us, however, from having the best of both worlds, from having our cake and not eating it, too. (Not funny?)

Below are some tips that will allow you to take a break from the ongoing cooking/cleaning cycle, enjoy time out and be social, while maintaining success with your personal health goals.

1. Order off the menu. You don’t need to follow all of the rules. If you’re having trouble finding something on the menu that fits your program, then simply ask for a piece of grilled protein and a side of veggies and call it a night!

2. Tell them you are on a cleanse. This is 2016: Everyone is cleansing, all the time. Chances are your server is on a cleanse as well and can help you choose the best option the restaurant has to offer.

3. Look at the menu beforehand. Make a decision and stick to it! “Out” yourself to your friends so that you can’t change your mind.

4. Share your dish. Boom! You just cut your caloric intake in half. Another option is to have your server box up half of the order before they bring it to the table.

5. Order an appetizer as your meal. Or ask for the lunch portion. Smaller portion means fewer calories!

6. Don’t go hungry. We’ve all made this mistake before—and then proceeded to eat the entire bread basket. Plus an app. And then an entire entree. (Yeesh.) Have a handful of nuts on your way to the restaurant, and skip the mini-meal(s) before your actual meal.

7. Don’t order dessert. Dessert is a meal you order after you’ve eaten an entire meal. (Think about it!) If you really want something sweet, skip the entree and have dessert as the main course. It’s not ideal to consume sugar at night right before bed, sure, but sometimes it just feels right.


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