A meal out at a restaurant is often a welcome treat… but it can be a real challenge if you’re on a diet. Menus make the food look especially delicious, and research has shown that seeing or smelling something delicious can erode anyone’s resolve. This is where some tips for eating out come in handy.
But that lovely time out at a restaurant doesn’t have to mean lots of extra calories or an unhealthy meal according to medical weight loss experts.
The average American eats half their meals outside the home, and we all know that fast food places are on every corner. According to researchers, by following just a few simple rules you can stop a meal out from ruining your weight loss efforts. Here’s what you do…
– Choose a sandwich shop that has veggie toppings, or a fast food place with soup or chili. Beware cream, soups containing cheese and the bread that often comes with them, as this can add an extra 1,000 calories to a meal.
– Go grilled not fried as this saves up to 280 calories, 27 grams of fat, and stay away from anything sautéed as well.
– Avoid high fat extras like cheese, salad dressing and mayo, which can add another 100 calories to your meal. Go low fat whenever you can.
– Eat a salad first, as this fills you up and keeps the calorie count low, especially if you order dressing on the side so you control how much you take in.
– Order a small (or children’s sized portion) instead of a large as this will give you the pleasure of enjoying a favorite dish, but without extra calories you don’t need. Go single burger vs. double, and never super size. Remember, restaurant portions are notoriously large.
– Watch sugary drinks, as these are empty calories that add up fast. Instead choose water, seltzer or a diet drink. If you drink alcohol, hold yourself to one drink and avoid the tasty frozen variety as these come with hundreds of added calories.
– Put down your fork (stop eating) every few bites. By paying attention to the company and surroundings you also give your brain a chance to send the “I’m full” message to your stomach. In fact, when your portion is half gone, stop and take a moment to assess your hunger on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 is starving, 5 is full to the brim). If you’re at a 3 or 4, stop eating.
Making smart choices at a restaurant can help us from taking in hundreds of excess calories without even realizing it. Of course many restaurant meals are bigger and loaded with calories compared to the ones we make at home, so always be aware of portion sizes.
If you cannot order small, one of the best tips for eating out is to wrap up half the meal right away, before you even start eating, then enjoy what’s left. You’ll get all the taste and enjoyment, but only half the calories you’d otherwise take in.