I love eating in restaurants but I know for some people eating out makes staying on their diet really hard. Many restaurants seem determined to make you eat unhealthy foods! Whenever I go out to a restaurant, I use these tips and tricks to make sure I come hope happy, satisfied, but not having ruined my diet…
Tip 1 – Peruse the menu in advance
Your willpower can take a huge hit when confronted with a menu loaded with unhealthy choices. The waiter is standing there ready for you to order and, before you know it, you have ordered all the things that will break your diet.
Instead, peruse the menu before you even go to the restaurant (most have online menus or will scan and email it to you on request) and then order your healthy meal in advance. That way, your willpower will not be tested and you are much less likely to break your diet.
Tip 2 – Turn away complimentary bread and breadsticks
Complimentary bread and breadsticks are a nice touch and show good customer service but if you are on a healthy diet, you really don’t want those tempting foods anywhere near you. You may think you’ll stop at just one but, especially if you are new to dieting, one is seldom enough!
Avoid temptation by sending the complimentary bread and breadsticks back to the kitchen so, strong willpower or not, you don’t have to try and resist those unwanted carbs and calories.
Tip 3 – Fill up on vegetables
Most meals come with a side of starchy carbs – potatoes, pasta, rice etc. – so make sure you order a large portion of seasonal vegetables instead. Do this when you place your order to avoid high carb/high calorie foods, the famous “empty calories”, inadvertently being delivered to your table. Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate dieters but you do need to ask to find out what is available.
Tip 4 – Skip ala carte and head to the buffet
All you can eat buffets might seem completely at odds with a weight loss diet but they may actually be ideal. You can design your own menu which makes sticking to your diet so much easier! Yes, you’ll have to exercise a little willpower to stay away from those foods you know you want but have to avoid but then you are free to fill up on all the low carb and low calorie foods you want.
Stick to protein (chicken, fish, eggs, meat etc.), “The Power of Protein“, piles and piles of vegetables, healthy fats, and very small portions of starchy carbs if you choose to have them at all. Use small plates to avoid taking more food than you need and, if possible, keep the plates as evidence of how many times you have visited the buffet to prevent eating more than you should. Finish your meal with a little fresh fruit or, better still, a visit to the coffee machine.
Tip 5 – Have a main course salad
Salads are generally much lower in calories and carbs than regular meals but can also be very filling. Choose a seafood, chicken, or meat salad that contains lots of different raw vegetables for a tasty, healthy, slimming meal. Remember to ask for no croutons though!
Beware of high carb dressings so ask for the dressing on the side so you can use as little or as much as you want. Try dipping the prongs of your fork in the dressing rather than pouring it on your food to avoid accidently using more than you should.
Tip 6 – Skip deep fried food
Deep fried food is almost always covered in breadcrumbs or batter, both of which are high in calories. Needless to say, neither are very diet friendly. Chose broiled, roasted or grilled chicken or fish over battered or breaded but if you really want something like deep fried chicken, remove the skin and outer coating to save yourself a ton of carbs and calories. “Not All Fats Are Created Equally“.
Tip 7 – Arrive at the restaurant feeling partially full
Arriving at a restaurant feeling hungry is a good way to sabotage your best intentions to eat healthily. If anything will destroy even the strongest willpower, it’s hunger!
Avoid this problem by eating a healthy, filling snack before you head out to the restaurant. Veggies with a guacamole dip, or turkey ham and cheese roll-ups are a good choice. If you don’t want to eat, have a couple of large glasses of water instead.
There is no need for eating out to ruin your healthy diet. In fact, if you use these seven tips, you should find that eating in restaurants is every bit as healthy as eating at home. Don’t fall out of love with eating in restaurants. Instead, just plan in advance and follow my rules!