10 tips for dining out without blowing your diet

Do you want to go out to a restaurant but worry you will blow your diet or fitness goals? It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can go out with friends or family to enjoy a meal and stay on track with your goals.

couple sitting at table in restaurant

I admit that I think about it because when I am on prep I eat most of my meals at home or from a plastic container. Occasionally I go to a restaurant for my refeed (or cheat as some would call it) meal, which is almost always a burger and fries.

You can dine out while on a diet or with very specific nutrition goals. The key to eating out without overindulging is knowing what to choose and what to avoid on your plate when it comes to ordering.

How do you do it?

10 tips for dining out with friends

Ask for what you need. You can ask for changes to your meal. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for it grilled. If it comes with french fries, ask for a side of vegetables instead.

Order the healthy, light low-fat entrees on the menu. Many restaurants will even list the calories and nutritional content of foods.

Salad dressing options. Honey mustard, Ranch or house dressing? Order dressing on the side to allow you to manage calories. You also can ask for oil and vinegar on the side.

bread being sliced at table

Bread or rolls? Resist the temptation all together by asking the server to not bring it to the table.

Order the kids’ meal. Not all restaurants will allow this, but some do. Kids’ meals have smaller portions and in many cases, simpler ingredients and fewer extras.

Vegetables with no butter or oil. Remember to eat your veggies first and you will be less likely to overindulge with other things that may be on the table.

Drink your water. People who drink water with their meals are less likely to overindulge in the main course. Drinking water has so many benefits and can help you lose weight.

Ask to box half your entree before it ever gets to the table. You also can split the entree with your dining partner. Many restaurants often serve two or three times more than food labels list as a serving.

Remember portion control. Don’t order the whole portion of pasta. Order the half portion which is about a single serving. Also, give your body time to digest your food and don’t eat so fast.

Don’t add extra salt to your food. Do you realize how much salt they already use? You would be blown away.

BONUS TIP: Try a shrimp cocktail appetizer. Kick off your meal with five juicy shrimp dipped in sauce. They clock in at only 100 calories with more than 12 grams of protein that can be at your table in minutes.

Maintaining a healthy weight takes a lot of hard work. If it didn’t, everyone would be at a healthy weight. You deserve to enjoy good meal and a restaurant.

Good for socializing

glass of water being poured at restaurant table

A meal out with friends is also good for socialization. We all need to be surrounded by friends or family.

According to a survey, 12% of Americans say that eat out with friends several times a week.

Have you ever noticed how you feel after catching up with friends over a meal? Sitting down with friends and family for a meal has been shown to increase happiness and help alleviate depression.

Dining out also gets you out of the house and let’s you try new things. When you dine out you can try out new dishes, cuisines and foods. This allows you to expand your palette and possibly find a new favorite food.

While dining out won’t cure everything, there’s plenty of research to suggest there is a link between food, happiness and dining out. Getting to socialize with others, experience new things and eat delicious foods can have an impact on your mood and your health.

Go and enjoy yourself. You just have to be mindful of what you are eating and use these tips for dining out.

What tips do you have for dining out?

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