Look Up the Menu Online First
Most restaurants put their menus online nowadays. Why not take 5 minutes before eating out and see what they have to offer? This way you are less pressured to make a quick decision. When we feel like time is against us, we are more likely to make poor decisions. Knowing what you’re going to eat beforehand keeps you on track.
Make a Reservation
You usually eat at predetermined (or close to it) mealtimes anyways, so why would that change when eating out? If you usually eat dinner at 6pm, then make a reservation for 5:45. This way your food will be ready by your usual mealtime. If you just show up at the restaurant and get on a waiting list, you might have to wait 30 minutes or longer – which is plenty of time for you to work up a ravishing appetite that could cause you to blow your diet. Successful dieting takes planning, and eating out is no exception.
Always Drink Water
Forget the carbonated drinks, or any other drink that has calories. You don’t drink anything but water at home, so why would you change anything now? If you need some added flavor, ask for your water with lemon, lime, or orange if they have it. Not only is drinking water the “secret” to fat loss, but it also has the added benefit of making your meals cheaper. If you’re not sure how much you should be drinking everyday, I explain in this article how much you should drink to lose weight.
Pass on the Bread and Chips
Many restaurants will give you some bread and butter, or some chips and salsa at no charge. Hey, it’s free! Why not? Don’t even let them put it down in front of you. You’ll be tempted to eat it, and more than likely, you will. Learn to say no even when they don’t ask. Don’t fight your willpower when you don’t even have to.
Skip the Appetizers and Dessert
You don’t eat them at home. You don’t need to eat them when you’re out. If you are dead set on getting one of these or both, save them for your cheat meal. It’s one of those times that if planned right, can make your social experience that much better. Not only that, but a well timed cheat meal that follows these guidelines can actually help you lose fat.
Get the Sauces on the Side
You’d be surprised how a healthy meal can be destroyed by the added sauces. A nice piece of meat is suddenly either packed with sugar or extra fat calories. Dipping sauces are a big no no, as well as fatty salad dressings. If you need dressing for your chicken salad, pick a vinaigrette that uses olive oil, but get it on the side so that you can control the serving size. Don’t just assume that because your salad is made with olive oil that they only put a tablespoon on it.
Find and Choose the Baked Meats
Your best choices on the menu are typically going to be the baked meats. If you’re at a Mexican restaurant, try the chicken fajitas, but forget about the refined flour tortillas. Italian food? There’s almost always a baked chicken option. The easiest place to get a good healthy meal is at a seafood restaurant. Get yourself some nice fresh fish and some veggies, and you’ve got yourself a great healthy meal.
Control Your Portions
More times than not, the portions that are fed to you when you go to a restaurant are larger than normal. Even a healthy meal can have twice as many calories as you’d normally eat. Don’t be afraid to leave something on your plate, or get a to-go box. It might seem like your leaving money on the table, but consider the alternative – a few extra pounds on your body.
Pick the Right Side Items
Most meals come with the standard fries or potatoes. That’s probably what you get every time you go out to eat. Have you ever even looked at what else they offer? Most places also have broccoli, mixed veggies, asparagus, and beans to name a few. Stay away from the starchy, refined carbohydrates and the fried side items. There is always a healthy option to choose.
Eat With Another Health-Conscious Person
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people helps you make like-minded choices. It makes it 10 times harder to eat healthy when the person you’re eating with is scarfing down some nice delicious fatty food right in front of you. We are highly influenced by the people around us. Eating with a healthy person helps keep you in check.
These days, most restaurants understand that the consumer wants healthy options. The menus are still overwhelmingly unhealthy most of the time, and you usually have to do some digging, but there is always a healthy option to choose from.