Why do restaurants continue to increase the portion size of their meals and lather everything on the menu with oil, butter and fat? It’s like they are out to sabotage your hard work at the gym in one quick meal! You don’t have to risk your social life though in order to maintain your healthy eating habits. Here are 10 tips I use when dining out that helps me stay on track:
1. Sauces – Opt for a tomato based rather than cream and always get it on the side, that way you can control the quantity.
2. Less oil or butter – You can cut 100 calories or more just by requesting that the chef use less oil or butter.
3. Substitute veggies – Always try to incorporate veggies into your meal. Most restaurants will let you substitute them in place of rice or noodles.
4. Don’t go hungry – Eat a small spinach salad before you leave, that way you won’t be famished by the time your food arrives and end up overeating.
5. Fill up on water – Drink at least three glasses of water before your meal arrives. You will feel full and eat less.
6. Get a doggie bag – Turn one meal into two or even three! The portions are so huge there is no reason why you should try to eat it all in one sitting. If you can’t control yourself when the food is in front of you, ask the server to pack half of your meal in a doggie bag even before he or she brings it to the table.
7. Skip the bread basket – Loading up on carbs will not only ruin your appetite but it’s an easy way to pack on unnecessary calories. Push it out of reach so you’re not tempted to pick or ask the server not to bring it altogether.
8. Choose protein – Eat a protein that is either: baked, grilled, dry-sautéed, broiled, poached, or steamed. Stay away from breaded, encrusted, or deep fried.
9. Put down the fork and stay a while – I have to consciously put my fork down after every bite to help me slow down. Dining out is supposed to be an experience, so enjoy your company, engage in conversation and stop shoveling!
10. Sharing is caring…and slimming – Pick out a few appetizers with your dining companion(s) and make that your meal. This creates instant portion control and allows you to try more food!