As you go about following your fat-loss diet plan, you will likely be challenged at some point or another with dining in a restaurant.
When you cook at home, you are able to gain maximum control over your food intake, making sure that you keep your calorie intake in check. When you dine out, however, you might feel at the mercy of another person – the chef – and if you aren’t careful, you could walk away overly full, having consumed many more calories than your nutritional target.
Dining out can really set back your overall fat-loss results if you aren’t careful, which is why learning how to choose nutritious, low-calorie foods from any menu is a must. When you make smart decisions like the ones listed below, you can walk away from any restaurant with your diet in check.
- Avoid all fried foods. This one should be explanatory. Fried potatoes, fried onions, chicken-fried steak – anything cooked in a heavy dose of oil should be avoided.
- Stay away from cream sauces. Any sort of sauce based in heavy cream or butter is going to be dense in fat and calories.
- Be leery of appetizers. Most appetizers are loaded with calories, containing more than a single entrée!
- Choose grilled chicken when in doubt. Chicken is one of the leanest protein sources to opt for, and when it’s grilled, it’ll contain minimal fat.
- Avoid anything breaded. These will contain both fat and carbs, a double whammy to avoid at all times.
- Don’t indulge in the bread basket. This can add hundreds of calories to your meal, especially when slathered in butter or olive oil.
- For a side dish, choose steamed vegetables. Be sure to request them without butter to prevent excessive calorie consumption.
- Opt for broth-based soups rather than creamy varieties. This will keep your calorie content down.
- Order dressing on the side. Add it yourself sparingly so that you can control how much you use. Try to use only half of what’s provided, if not less.
- Request at least a few of the fixings off the salad. Croutons, cheese, noodles and candied nuts can all increase the calorie content of your salad.
- Ask for light sauce when ordering stir fry dishes. Most chefs add way too much sauce, significantly increasing the calorie content.
- Avoid dessert at all costs. Most restaurant desserts contain at least 800 calories. If you must have dessert for a celebration or special occasion, split one between 3 or 4 people to control the portion.
- Order water to ensure you don’t take in any extra calories through your beverage choice.
- Choose lean cuts of steak. Steak can be a great choice when it’s the proper cut.
- Avoid large meat serving sizes: 3-4 ounces is more than enough for most people, especially with a generous serving of veggies.
- Order a half order when possible. Most restaurants serve two or three times as much as an actual serving, especially for pasta dishes, so a half portion still gets you plenty of food – and a smaller bill.
The Bottom Line
These quick tips will help you feel comfortable and confident when eating out, even on a diet. Make sure that you keep these suggestions in mind as you look through the menu and decide what to order. Don’t take your choice lightly here – if you make a bad decision, you could easily take in well over 1500 calories at that meal, which for many dieters is the goal for the whole day!