Eating Out While Losing Weight
Eating healthy has its challenges, but eating healthy while dining out can be a whole other issue. While cooking healthy foods at home is a better option for your health, it is not always realistic to say you will never go out to eat again. Follow the tips below to stay on track with your meal plan when needing to venture out for food.
Choose a Restaurant that Provides a Variety of Food Options:
- This allows everyone to be able to get something they want.
- Typically menus with a wide variety of options provide you a low calorie/light menu.
- Beware of buffets. Buffets enhance temptation of undesirable food.
- Look at the online menu and/or nutrition facts ahead of time.
- Plug the meal you plan to have in your MyFitnessPal app to see if it will help you meet your protein/fat/carbohydrate goals for the day.
- Select three healthy entrees and jot them down on a piece of paper. Use this piece of paper as your menu. This will prevent you from ordering an unhealthy entrée due to the tempting picture on the menu.
Keep Hunger Under Control:
- Avoid skipping meals during the day to prepare for evening meal. You will take in more calories overall skipping meals due to low blood sugars.
- Have a light lunch- tuna packets or deli roll-ups work great
- Have a protein based snack 2 hours before your meal to help with portion control when eating out
Once You Get to the Restaurant:
- Request that the bread or basket of chips be removed from the table
- If your company wants the bread/chips, ask that it be placed on the opposite side of the table (from where you are sitting).
- Pop in a piece of sugar-free gum, order broth based soup, or sip on some water while waiting.
When Ordering A Meal:
- Best bet is to choose an item off of the lower calorie/light menu.
- Typically these entrees are between 500-600 calories and contain a lean protein, non-starchy vegetable, and portion controlled starch item.
- Be careful with low-carb menus; many times restaurants will over compensate for “flavor-loss” by adding extra fat to the meal.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Is your food fried, baked, broiled, roasted, grilled?
- Is the meat breaded? Is it served in gravy, cream, butter sauces?
- Are the vegetables steamed? Are they cooked in butter? Is salt added in the cooking process?
- Remember it is okay to make substitutions:
- Grilled instead of fried.
- Non-starchy vegetables to replace loaded mashed potatoes.
- Protein/vegetables cooked with less butter or salt.
- If you are unable to make substitutions: Ask server to leave “high-fat” or “starch” off your plate or order items “a la carte”.
- Continue to practice portion control
- Ask for half of your entrée to be packed in a to-go box before you are served.
- Share your meal with a friend.
- Plan an exercise activity after your evening meal (workout DVD, family walk/jog).