Many dieters avoid restaurants for fear of undermining their diet effort. However, savvy dieters realize that – if they are careful – dining out can be a boon to a diet.
To succeed at dieting while facing a menu, there are two basic rules to follow:
- Demand that the food be cooked the way you want
- Expect to take home the excess food
- Accept that you cannot eat the contents of the breadbasket or the mile high chocolate cake for dessert
Here are Some Better Eating Choices for Restaurants
Check the menu ahead of time
Whether you go on line or call the restaurant, know what kind to food to expect. The advantage to doing your menu homework is that you eliminate decision pressure (while the waiter is standing with pad at the ready).
It’s easy to be influenced by your friends, who, if not dieting, may order tempting high calorie foods. Once you order your broiled salmon and steamed vegetables, it is unlikely you will change that order
when your pal orders chicken Parmesan with pasta.
You’re paying for the meal and you have the right to have the food cooked the way you want. (Broiled, not fried. Hold the cream sauce. No sour cream or butter on the baked potato.)
Be knowledgeable about nutrition and food
Common sense tells you that fried fish and chips do not fit into a diet plan. Avoid cream-based chowders; have then hold the cheese and croutons on onion soup.
Food not prepared the way you want? Send it back. If you asked for the chicken breast without the melted Provolone on top and it comes drenched in cheese, you have the right to return it to the kitchen. Do not be noble and start scrapping off the cheese – assert your rights.
Don’t drink (too much)
If your diet allows wine or a drink with dinner, that’s fine. But when the waiter asks if the table wants another round, say “No.” Not only are you rejecting a second round of calories, but also you are protecting your willpower from the second drink’s “I don’t care anymore” diet collapse.
Take it home
Before you even start eating, anticipate what portion of the meal will be lunch tomorrow. Some dieters even put half their meal in a doggie bag before they start eating.
Here are couple of other quick tips that apply to eating away from home dining:
- Never arrive hungry
- Eat slowly; do not finish before your companions
- Drink lots of water (no, not alcohol)
- Move the breadbasket away from your section of the table – far away.
- Learn the difference between baked, braised, fried, broiled and other restaurant cooking styles.
- Ask for sauces and dressings on the side.
Enjoy your dining experience; do not let a diet commitment ruin the fun of dining out. Plan ahead, eat well and if you slip up a little, do not obsess. Tomorrow is a new day. And if you slip up a lot. Tomorrow is still a new day.