“Let’s go out to eat!” Whenever you hear this, you’re probably thinking two things: 1. Yes! Yummy food and a social setting!… and 2. But how do I stay on track?
I’m here to tell you there are ways to stay on your diet without giving up restaurant eating and your social life! Below I’ve listed my top tips when at a restaurant:
1. Keep drinking water to stay full and hydrated! Oftentimes, hunger is mistaken for dehydration, so drink up!
2. Ask for your dish with no sauce, dressing or dairy, or order it on the side to taste. One of my favorite things to do is dip my fork in a bit of dressing for flavor before each bite. That way you’re consuming way fewer calories than dumping all the dressing or sauce all over your meal! You can also opt for straight balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar or salsa.
3. Try sharing healthy appetizers or tapas with the table instead of having an entree. Especially in America, entrees tend to be so huge, and it’s hard to stop once it’s in front of you! Tapas or shared plates give you a chance to try a variety of food while holding you accountable to portion size.
4. Eat slowly. Have a bite, continue conversation, have a drink of water, then have another bite. This will give your body time to signal to the brain that you’re full, which takes around 20 minutes after you’ve begun eating.
5. Opt for grilled rather than fried to eliminate bad calories!
6. Order your veggies steamed to avoid excess calories from the frying pan.
7. If half portions are available— especially with pasta dishes— go for that option! You’ll save yourself hundreds of calories! You can even order from the kids’ menu sometimes.
8. Stop eating when you start to feel full, even if everyone else is still eating.
9. If the waiter or waitress offers chips and guac, nuts or breadsticks, kindly decline to avoid the temptation.
10. Just keep everything in moderation, and envision yourself politely saying no before going to a restaurant. Life is too short not to enjoy some yummy foods, but you also don’t want to feel peer pressured into eating and drinking when people offer.