Below are 5 ways to eat dinner out and still lose weight. Perfect for when you need a night out or are tired of meal prep (or both).
When you’re tired of cooking at home a night out sounds ideal. Whether you’re trying something new or going to sit down at one of your favorite restaurants, dining out can be needed once in a while. However, when you’re trying to lose weight, a night out sounds more like a glutinous activity than a treat.
If you’re watching your weight, that shouldn’t stop you from being able to go out and enjoy a meal at a restaurant with friends and family. It just means you have to be more careful about what you eat and how much you eat. Here are 5 ways to eat dinner out and still lose weight.
1. Be aware of portion distortion
It’s no secret that American serving sizes are way too big, and it’s too easy to feel the need to “clean your plate.” Before you go out, remind yourself of appropriate portion sizes. To keep from overeating, it’s helpful to set aside half your meal for later and ask for a takeout bag. In addition, consider having a salad or fruit that will help you feel full.
It goes without saying that buffets are a bad idea, but if you find yourself at one, you can take advantage of any fresh fruit or salad choices. These will help you feel full and decrease the desire to overeat.
2. Sip smart
When you go out to eat with friends and/or family, it may sometimes feel like a big reunion or celebration. Typically speaking, this will call for some alcoholic drinks, with a cheers to your time together.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it really helps to watch the alcohol intake. And if you are drinking, drink with a meal.
If you’re not drinking alcohol, you still want to make sure your drink option is on the healthier side. Limit drinks with sodas and sugary syrups.
3. Ditch the starve-yourself-all-day routine
You’ve booked a big dinner, so you skip lunch. Sound familiar? Don’t. By the time you arrive at the restaurant you’re famished, and hello, here’s the bread basket! Two or three pieces later (with butter, of course), you’ve eaten a couple hundred calories—and you haven’t even spoken to the waiter. Instead, dig into a light lunch, such as a salad with salmon and veggies and a whole-grain roll. Then in the late afternoon, have a small snack—a container of Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts. Keeping your hunger under control means you won’t dive into the bread basket the moment you’re shown to your table.
4. Make healthy choices
Eating healthier at a restaurant doesn’t mean forgoing all your favorite entrees. You may be surprised that just a few simple choices can dramatically cut your fat intake. Consider:
Ordering food that is broiled or grilled— never fried.
Opting for a baked potato instead of fries.
Drinking water with lemon instead of a soda.
Limit alcohol. Many alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories. However, if you’d still like to indulge, a wine spritzer or mojito is a better option than a sugary cocktail such as a margarita or daiquiri, and keep it to two drinks max.
Using a vinaigrette salad dressing instead of ranch or other high-fat dressings.
Avoid adding salt.
Splitting a dessert among your friends, or taking half of it home.
5. Start your meal with soup or salad
One of the first things the waiters and waitresses put down on your table is a bread basket. And although it’s tempting, there are better options when you dine out to lose weight.
Instead of eating the entire bread basket, which we often do when we sit down in the restaurant and wait for our main dish to arrive, order a healthy appetizer.
We suggest enjoying a salad with mixed vegetables or a vegetable-based soup. Vegetables can help keep you fuller longer, which is great when trying not to overeat and trying to lose weight.