For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Diet Tips for Eating Out

June 1st, 2009

eat-out-diet-tipsThink it’s not possible to watch your calories while dining out? Well, think again. Eating out should be a fun, relaxing experience — not one that brings about stress, anxiety, or worry. By following these simple tips, the only thing you’ll have to worry about the next time you go to a restaurant is who will pay the bill.

  1. Plan ahead. Most restaurants have their menus online, so have a quick glance before you decide where to go. The majority of eateries today have a varied menu to accommodate all customers, but it never hurts to be proactive. If the restaurant only serves deep fried food or ice cream sundaes, then you might want to consider an alternative. Some restaurants even provide the nutritional content of their food, which will make planning your meal out much easier.

  2. If you don’t ask, they won’t tell. You won’t be arrested for making a request. Ask your server to have your food prepared in a certain way. Restaurants are more than willing to accommodate their customers, so why not ask for your food to be grilled, poached, boiled or even steamed instead of fried (as it may be listed on the menu). You’d be surprised at how many ingredients they actually have in the kitchen so even asking for something that is not on the menu is a good idea. Cheese, sour cream, butter, and mayonnaise are all items that should not be eaten when dining out because chances are good that the restaurant won’t have the fat free versions of these traditionally high fat ingredients. Simply requesting that your meal not be served with these items will be enough to avoid temptation.
  3. On the side. Requesting any ingredient to be on the side will allow you to be in control of how much you eat. Instead of getting the salad dressing that is listed on the menu smothered on your salad, why not ask for olive oil and vinegar on the side?
  4. Portion control. American restaurants are notorious for their large portions; why not try splitting your meal with your dining companion? If you’re dining alone or can’t agree on what to share then try asking for a half portion. Another alternative is to request a container that you could put half of your meal into to take home. If you do this as soon as you get your meal, then you won’t be tempted to eat the entire portion all at once.
  5. Low fat options. Restaurants are becoming more heart healthy, which means that they are likely to have low fat options on their menus. So why not try something new that you might not have considered before? Even low fat desserts like sorbet or frozen yogurt are a viable option.

Eating out and eating healthy are not mutually exclusive; by making a few simple changes and requests you can enjoy taking a break from cooking and still maintain a sensible diet.

Bobbi Leder is currently working as a freelance writer and holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Media from Rutgers University. She has been published in a variety of venues, including LifeScript, Associated Content, eHow, Story Mash, Helium, Atlantic Publishing, London Eating, and Trip Advisor. Her sample works can be viewed at bobbileder.webs.com.

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