Going out to eat is a fun experience to have either alone or with friends and family. It builds bonds and promotes a better mood for everyone. Some achievements merit to have a night out to eat delicious food others have prepared for you.
However, studies have shown that people tend to derail off their diets when they go out to eat. They overeat without realizing. When you’re having fun, the last thing you want to do is to restrict yourself. That’s no excuse to destroy your chances at achieving your goals, though. There’s nothing wrong in going out to eat. You shouldn’t avoid it all together because you’re on a diet. Instead, learn these rules that will let you enjoy yourself while keeping faithful to your diet.
Have a snack before leaving the house
At the thought of having a big meal later in the day, some people skip other meals throughout the day. Although it looks like you might be saving calories, you’re hurting your body and setting yourself up for failure. You’re increasing your risks of overeating.
If you skip meals, you’ll be starving by the time you get to the restaurant. You’ll launch on the breadsticks and order the first plate that looks appetizing when it most likely will be the least healthy option. Instead, have little snacks, especially when you’re about to leave. Choose something with low-calorie counts, but high protein like yogurt, cheese or nuts. They’ll keep you from overeating and sated enough to think about what to order.
Read the entire menu before ordering
It’s important to know all the options. It’s preferable for you to know the menu before you arrive at the restaurant. That way you can already build your choice in your daily diet. If that’s not an option, take a moment to carefully read everything before settling on anything.
The point of reading the menu is to know what you’re putting in your body. Since most of us are not chefs, it’s hard to tell every ingredient in every plate. That’s where the waiter comes in.
You should ask questions about any plate that you want to order. That step is essential whether you’re dieting or not. It prevents you from unknowingly consuming anything you’re allergic to or anything that you won’t eat.
If the waiter doesn’t know, you can always ask for the chef or the manager to describe the foods to you. A restaurant can’t force you to eat something that you don’t know. Unlike foods at the market, restaurant foods don’t have labels describing everything about serving size and nutrients. That doesn’t mean you have to go in blindly, so use your voice.
Skip the bread
Restaurants will tempt you with the basket of bread and butter before you order anything else. If you’re on a weight loss diet, it’s best to skip it. You’re already preparing to have a big three course meal. Eating the bread will simply be overeating.
That is why it’s important to have a snack before going to the restaurant. If you walk in there hungry, you won’t be able to resist them. That’s understandable because you’d feel like you’re starving yourself. The snack pre-dinner keeps the hunger at bay, so you can consume exactly the number of calories you intend to eat.
Beware of “light” dishes
You should beware of any light food in general. There are no exact requirements that distinguish them from other foods. Restaurants can title anything they want as a light option to attract more customers. Also, when they’re low in something like sugar or carb, they’re usually higher in other nutrients like saturated fat.
Instead of getting tricked by the term light, look for well-balanced meals. Try foods with a balance of protein, carbs, and unsaturated fats. If you know how to make good choices, light options don’t offer any more benefits than the one you chose.
Go Easy on the wine
It’s best to stay off any type of alcoholic drinks while dining out. Alcohol is packed with empty calories that will add weight without giving any nutrients. If you’re ordering wine, stick to one glass. That’s the recommended daily portion. Any more than one glass a day will add more calories than you want. Also, keep in mind that some wine has sugar and alcohol – two things you don’t want to consume.
You should stay away from mixers as well. They usually have twice the amount of alcohol than wine. If you must because it’s a fun evening out and you need to loosen up, try for the healthy option. Choose to mix your gin with diet drinks instead of fruit juices or other sugar-sweetened drinks.
Control your portions
Food portions have increased in recent years. Restaurants will place a large plate in front of you. However, you should avoid eating it all. It’s going to feel like you’re throwing away your money, but it’s the best option to stay on track. It’s best to stop when about 75 percent of your plate is empty. That easily shaves off a good portion of the calories in the meal.
If you’re out with friends, you can always share some of your food. Wasting food always look bad, so give it to someone else who’s willing to eat it and is not on a diet. Also, you can always order half portions. Many restaurants have that option, so ask about it when you’re ordering.
Take dressing and sauces on the side
It’s important to lay off the sauces, especially on salad or pasta. Pasta already pack a lot of calories, and the sauces will only add extra fat that you don’t need. Salad dressings will destroy the purpose of the salad. Thus, ask them on the side so you can add as little as possible. Stay away from creamy dishes that must have the sauces in the dishes like alfredo. If you’re going to eat pasta, try it tomato sauce or vegetables.
It’s best to not deny yourself the sweet dish after all your smart choices during dinner. However, opt for desserts with fruits instead of ice cream and cakes. If you must have cake, order a portion to share with orders. You shouldn’t eat more than a few bites.
Being on a diet doesn’t mean you’re doomed to only eat your carefully planned out meals. You can indulge a little every now and then. Just remember that you’re still on a diet so, make smart choices.