How to Eat Out Without Killing Your Diet

by Bob Curley on August 18, 2012

Restaurant dinners can be diet-killers unless you pay close attention to what you order and how much you eat. Here’s a baker’s dozen tips on how to dine out on a diet from Prevention magazine:

  • Review restaurant menus online before you go so you can make good choices in advance that you can stick with.
  • Choose a quiet corner of the restaurant: Commotion can distract you into overeating.
  • Place your order first so you’re not tempted by any of your dining companions’ unhealthy choices.
  • Ask your server for details on what’s in your meal and how it is cooked. Don’t hesitate to make special requests (liked broiling rather than frying food) or substitute healthy ingredients for less-healthy ones.
  • Don’t let flowery adjectives like “juicy” or “tender” dictate your food choices. Just pick what’s healthy and appealing to you.
  • Avoid snacking on appetizers, bread, or chips placed on your table before the main meal.
  • Ask for salad dressing on the side, then apply sparingly. Beware of potato, macaroni and other salads that are often larded with mayonnaise and high levels of sugar and fat.
  • Choose your side dishes carefully: steamed veggies rather than fries, for example.
  • Ask for your entree grilled or broiled rather than pan-fried or deep fried. Ask for the cook to go easy on the oil or butter when cooking.
  • Avoid alcohol when dining out — mixed drinks contain a lot of extra calories and also can impair your judgement, leading to overindulgence. Order wine by the glass, not the bottle, and drink plenty of water in addition to your libation.
  • Practice portion control: Don’t feel obligated to finish a giant, restaurant-sized meal. Take leftovers home. Eat slowly, until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
  • Enjoy a taste of dessert if you’d like, but again, don’t overdo it. Try three bites, then wait to see if you want more. Share with others at the table, or take leftovers home.
(Photo © acnatta via Flickr)