Training yourself to eat healthy at home is hard. Adding in a menu and a crowd full of people makes dieting near to impossible. Impossible or not, going out to eat is sometimes unavoidable. If you don't plan ahead, the whole event can be pretty disastrous. Restaurants normally have portions that are way too big, have meals with too many calories, and don't use most healthy ingredients. Add in the appetizers friends want to split, the desserts that are just too tempting, and the one, two, or three drinks, and you are setting yourself up to fail your diet goals for the week. If you want to know how to go out to eat and keep your diet, read on! Once you learn the tips, you'll be able to go out and have a fun night while staying on track with your diet.
1. Check The Menu Ahead Of Time
If you know you are planning to go out to eat this weekend, check the menu online. Depending on who you are meeting up with, you have the ability to change the restaurant if there isn't anything relatively healthy on the menu. If the menu looks like it has all bar food, try to get your friend group to reconsider and give them another option. You don't have to make it awkward by suggesting a different place. Just say something like "I heard the new Mexican place on South St. is really great. Would you guys considering eating there instead?" Chances are, nobody is that set on a place that they won't want to change!
2. Get An Appetizer As A Meal
We've all been to the restaurants that have appetizers bigger than a meal we would have at home. Don't think that just because it's not on the dinner menu that it isn't good enough to eat as a meal. Ask your waiter if the appetizer is big? and If they say yes consider this as your meal. Going out to eat isn't just about the food, it's about the company as well! If you're still a little hungry after your appetizer, have something small when you get home.
3. Get On That Salad Game
Most restaurants are going to have a variety of salads on their menu. Don't be fooled into getting a salad without making sure it is actually a healthy one. If the menu doesn't state what kind of greens are used, ask. Also, make sure if there's chicken on the salad that you ask for it grilled instead of fried. Know that you can ask for any extras you want, you just may have to pay!
4. Skip The Sugar
You may be craving that soda, beer, or mixed drink but skip them and get a water. If you really are in the mood for an adult beverage, get a gin and tonic or something that has less sugar than beer. Remember, the more water you drink the better your diet is going to be, so even if you get a mixed drink still try to drink at least a glass of water with dinner!
5. Talk To Your Waiter
Ask your waiter about healthy options, different modifications, and if they have lighter portion of the food. Ask as many questions as you can to make sure that you are getting the healthiest option the restaurant has available! Don't feel uncomfortable about this either, as they are there to make sure your visit is ideal.
6. Take Home Leftovers
If you think your meal is too big, don't try to eat it all! Ask for a box. Do this right when you are done eating so your food doesn't linger at the table for you to munch on while you chat with your friends. Don't feel embarrassed about doing this. Asking for leftovers is also an easy way to get two meals for the price of one!
7. Share Dessert
The most diet friendly advice would be DO NOT do dessert, but we understand that you are human. Everyone needs some sweets sometimes. Our advice is to stick with sharing dessert and just have a bite or two. Sharing desserts gives you a taste, yet doesn't give you the obligation to eat it all and get off track with your diet.