I typically try to not eat out for a few reasons: when I eat at home I save myself calories and I know exactly what I’m eating. However, when I do go out, I follow these tips to make healthy decisions and save some calories.
Eat a small snack before.
I don’t like to arrive to a restaurant extremely hungry; otherwise I’ll eat whatever is in front of me! I’ll usually eat an apple before I go out. They’re a great option because they are filled with fiber, which keeps you satiated.
Before I go out to eat, I look up the restaurant menu online and decide on something healthy. That way I avoid ordering a last minute craving.
Typically anything you order at a restaurant will be high in calories & sodium (even salads and vegetables). By carefully reading the menu and knowing what words to look for, you can reduce the damage.
Avoid foods described with the following words on a menu:
Salads are a great option. However, the calories can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Swap the sugary and fattening dressing with lemon juice or olive oil- or just order it on the side and dip your fork in it instead of pouring it on.
Many restaurants offer gluten free bread and buns, however they’re not any better for you. Whenever I go to a burger joint, I love getting my burger wrapped in lettuce. It looks funny, but tastes so good!
Choose an entrée packed with protein such as chicken, steak, or salmon.
Skip the dessert.
If you have a sweet tooth like me, it’s hard to ignore the dessert menu. I never regret my decision to say no to dessert when I wake up the next morning. If you can’t battle, a sorbet is a healthier choice than a heap of ice-cream drenched in “calorie sauce” (hot fudge). It’s also a good idea to split a dessert with someone.
DURING THE MEAL
I don’t like to drink my calories so I avoid ordering pop, juices, or alcoholic beverages. I also try to drink a glass of water before I eat, which helps me feel more full.
Skip the breadbasket.
I would rather fill up on my actual meal than on a bunch of carbs.
Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes to realize that you’re full. Put your fork down and take sips of water in-between bites. Also try holding a conversation. I’ve been trying to focus more on enjoying my mealtime, rather than just my food.
Control your portions. Most restaurants serve portions that actually feed two or more people. To avoid the extra calories, ask your server to box half of your plate even before your food is served.
Don’t eat past 7 PM.
If timing is tight, just keep in mind that you shouldn’t eat 3 hours before bed.
Avoid eating in front of a television or in a movie theater; you're bound to consume more calories when distracted.
When you’re with 1 other person you’ll eat 35% more, with a group of 4 it’s 75% more, and with 7 or more it’s 96% more!
It’s okay to splurge every once in a while. Just remember that when you do go out to eat with friends, plan ahead and choose wisely!
I hope this post was helpful!