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Going Out to Eat on a Diet

One big test of any diet comes when you eat out. At home, it’s easier. You have your prepared, portioned meals and the fresh fruits and vegetables you bought from the grocery store. You know their nutritional information inside out. At a restaurant, everything looks and smells so yummy—and tempting. Plan ahead to help you eat out wisely. View it as a fun challenge and not an ordeal.

When You Know the Restaurant
To plan and arm yourself with information, it helps to know which restaurant you’re going to. Many establishments have online menus, so see if your restaurant does. Peruse its menu for foods compatible with your diet. Many places also list nutritional information, and let that information guide your ordering decision.

Before You Arrive
Snack on healthy foods before you arrive at the restaurant. This ensures you’re not starving. Also plan your meal at a time that works as closely as possible with your diet. This is especially important if you need routine and structure to stick with your diet. Avoid buffet restaurants.

At the Restaurant
Following a few valuable guidelines helps keep you on track. Skip the bread and butter. Ditto for regular soda. Order water and tea when possible. Salad is a great filler before the main meal, but ensure that your dressing is low calorie and low fat. If you’re familiar with the restaurant and know it has large portions, ask the server to box half of your meal before he or she brings it to your table. If you absolutely love baked potatoes and plan to order one, bring your own low-fat butter or margarine.

Reward Yourself
Reward yourself for sticking to your diet. The prize can be something as simple as an ebook—or a little treat at the restaurant. If it is food-related, use your judgment as to the treat and don’t exceed it.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Anna Bryan December 23, 2013

    Life really is too short to worry lots about food- meals out are to be enjoyed not stressed over! Just be balanced and the weight will manage itself. That’s true for me, anyway. I love to go out from time to time to restaurants as a treat, and I don’t think it’s worth worrying about calorie contents and ruining the fun.

  • comment avatar Lucy Johnson December 24, 2013

    When I’m on a diet I try and avoid eating out altogether but these are some good tips. Like you say, googling the nutritional information at the place you’re going to ahead of time can help, so at least you can incorporate the meal into your plan for the day. It’s always going to be higher calorie than whatever you’d make at home though, in my experience.

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