While the food and drinks can be absolutely lip-smackingly delicious, eating at a restaurant can cause you to consume way more than your recommended calorie intake for the day.
According to research, an average meal when dining out is a whopping 134 calories more than the same meal prepared at home.
But the good news is that there are ways to eat out without throwing your diet plan out of the window. Read on to find out how to eat right even when dining out.
- Start with a Game Plan
When choosing a restaurant, always plan ahead. If you choose a place without checking first, you might be setting yourself up for disaster before you even sit down.
Choose a restaurant that has a wide range of low-calorie menu items. Check the menu online beforehand, so that you have an idea of what they offer.
Try to make a reservation at a specific time. This will cut down on the amount of time waiting for a table and becoming hungrier and more inclined to indulge!
- Order a Guilt-Free Meal
Before you even order your meal you might be tempted with a bread basket or tortilla chip bowl. Don’t give into temptation – save the calories for the main meal.
Many restaurants fluff up their menus with fancy sounding words, so you need to learn to crack the code before you order.
Anything that’s described as “creamy,” “breaded,” “buttery,” “smothered,” or “stuffed” is most likely full of calories. Words such as “grilled,” “broiled,” and “baked” indicate that the food is being cooked in a healthier way.
If going into a normal restaurant is too tempting, there are restaurants that only sell salads. Check out one of these eateries, like the amazing salad restaurant Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen. They have a huge selection of creative salads and more – it really will blow your mind!
- Skip the Empty Calories
Drink water throughout your meal. This forces you to slow down while you eat and will allow you to judge your hunger pangs which can stop you from overeating.
If you’re celebrating something and you do need to have a drink, some options are better than others. Avoid sugary cocktails and get a glass of red wine instead. Or try vodka with club soda and a squeeze of lime.
- The Proof Is in the Tasting
Before you even begin eating, ask for a “to go” box for the leftovers. To avoid the risk of temptation, you can even ask the server to put half of the meal into the box instead of onto your plate.
The “fork dip” method is a sneaky way to get a little taste of creamy dressings, without dolloping a huge amount onto your meal. Just ask for the dressing as a side, dip in your fork and away you go!
Another way to use your fork is to put it down between bites. This “rest time” will stop you from overeating, as you’ll be able to gauge your hunger level before you take another bite.
- Finish Strong
When eating well, whatever you do, don’t order dessert! Even a tiny piece of cake could add 400 or more calories to your meal.
When you’re done, pop a mint in your mouth. This will help you to clear your palette and stop you from taking another bite of your meal.