Maintaining a healthy diet and losing weight can be challenging, especially when eating out. Restaurants often offer tempting, high-calorie dishes that can derail your weight loss goals. However, with some planning and smart choices, you can still enjoy eating out while staying on track.
Here are five tips for eating out while losing weight.
1. Plan Ahead. Before heading out to a restaurant, take some time to research the menu and decide what you’ll order. Many restaurants now have their menus available online, making it easier to plan ahead. Look for healthier options, such as grilled or baked protein sources, salads, and vegetable sides. By deciding what to order ahead of time, you can avoid impulsively choosing a high-calorie dish.
2. Watch Your Portions. Restaurant portions can be significantly larger than what you would eat at home. Consider sharing a meal with a friend or taking half home for later. If sharing isn’t an option, ask for a to-go box when your meal arrives and portion out half of your meal to save for later. This not only helps with portion control, but it also gives you an extra meal to enjoy later.
3. Choose Healthier Options. When looking at the menu, choose dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed rather than fried. Lean protein sources such as chicken or fish are healthier options than red meat or processed meats. Choose vegetables or salads as sides instead of high-calorie options like fries or macaroni and cheese.
4. Avoid Sugary Drinks. Drinks can be a significant source of hidden calories. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and lemonade, which can add hundreds of extra calories to your meal. Instead, choose water, unsweetened tea, or a low-calorie drink. If you choose to drink alcohol, be mindful of the calories in your drink and limit your consumption.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Modifications. Many restaurants are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions or preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask for dressings or sauces on the side, or to substitute healthier options for high-calorie ingredients. For example, ask for grilled chicken instead of fried, or a side of vegetables instead of fries.
As you can see, eating out while trying to lose weight doesn’t have to be a challenge. With a little planning and smart choices, you can enjoy eating out while staying on track with your weight loss goals. Remember to plan ahead, watch your portions, choose healthier options, avoid sugary drinks, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. With these tips, you can continue to enjoy dining out while still maintaining a healthy diet.
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