Although it’s best to avoid eating out as much as possible when eating healthy, of course you’ll still be going out sometimes, whether it’s with friends or for a special occasion. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can enjoy your time at a restaurant without ruining your diet.
Here are some tips to maintain healthy eating when eating out:
1. Pass on the Bread Basket
Limiting your carb intake is important for any diet plan, and the bread given to you at restaurants is nearly always simple carbs that are bad even for people that aren’t looking to lose weight. So, as long as everyone is in agreement, ask the waiter to leave your bread basket in the kitchen. If someone does want it, keep it as far away from you as possible to avoid temptation.
2. Just Drink Water
When it comes to your drink options, water is going to be the safest in terms of limiting your caloric intake. This is especially important when you’re getting free refills since you feel like you need to drink several glasses to get your money’s worth. Avoid alcoholic beverages as well, except maybe a glass of wine, since most beers and specialty drinks are packed with extra calories.
3. Check the Menu in Advance
If you know where you’re going to be going out to eat long enough in advance, take some time to find out what they have on their menu. Many restaurants post their menu with nutritional information online, so you can plan on what to order before you get there. This will help you be able to make a good decision that’s not influenced by the atmosphere or pictures in the menu.
4. Get a Box
Since most restaurants offer huge meals, you can limit how much you eat by asking for a take-home box as soon as your food arrives. Put up to half of your meal in the box then just eat what’s left on your plate. This will not only help keep you from eating the excessive portion sizes offered by most restaurants, but will also provide you with lunch for tomorrow!
5. Ask for Extra Vegetables
When your meal comes with a few vegetables on the side, ask them to pile them on for you. Most restaurants won’t charge you extra for more vegetables and it will help you fill up on these rather than the higher-calorie options on your plate. Just make sure these vegetables are raw, grilled, or sauteed in butter rather than fried since most oils used for frying are unhealthy.
6. Get it Your Way
Remember that you’re paying for this meal, so you have every right to order your food the way you want it. That might mean asking for a different type of dressing for your salad or different toppings on your burger. Just make sure you’re polite about it and give clear instructions to your waiter so you can get your food the way you need and want it to be.