Eating out can be a treat – no veggies to prep or dishes to wash – but it can also tempt us into ordering something that we wouldn’t normally eat. (And that something may not fit the parameters of your weight loss plan!) By following a few simple guidelines, you will find that you can dine out without worry and still see success at the scale.
If you are planning to go to a restaurant that is part of a chain, the corporate website should have all of the nutrition facts online and ready for you to make a selection before you even get into the car.
· Look for items that have at least twice as much protein as carbohydrates. Remember the protein to carb ratio applies to the meal as a whole.
· A salad is not necessarily a safe bet. Many large salads weigh in at over 600 calories. Check the website or ask your server.
· Once inside, ask to sit in a quiet section of the restaurant. You tend to eat more when distracted by a noisy or busy atmosphere.
· When the waiter arrives, indicate that you are ready and place your order first.
· Just say ‘No thank you’ when the bread or chip basket is placed on the table or ask your companions to place it on the other end of the table.
· Ask for your salad dressing to be served on the side and eat around the croutons.
· Order meat and seafood that is broiled, baked, grilled or steamed without extra fats or crunchy coatings.
· Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. Order a second vegetable or a side salad in place of the starch that is typically listed with the main course.
· If you don’t see anything on the menu that you want, check out the appetizers. Ask for it to be brought out during the main course.
· If everyone is having dessert, offer to split one with someone and keep your portion to a bite or two.
From the time you sit down until you get up to leave, remember who is in charge. You are paying for both food and service and may ask for things to be prepared to your liking. This may take a little practice if you aren’t used to getting things your way!
For a few extra tips – tune in to the episode ‘Fast Food Without Diet Disaster’ on Doc Weight Loss! Video podcast