4 Tips to Dining Out When on a Diet

While dining out can be a great event, it can also wreak havoc on your diet. Foods that are rich in fat, calories and sugar have all been found to significantly contribute to weight gain. In order to prevent “falling off the wagon” when it comes to sticking to your diet while eating out, be sure to plan ahead of time, pack half your food for later, avoid drinking your calories and skip the dessert.

1. Plan ahead of Time

One of the most important tips you can keep in mind when it comes to dining out on a diet is to plan ahead of time. In most cases, you will know by at least the day before a meal out. On these days, try to eat lighter, healthier meals in order to make up for the more calorically dense food that you will consume when eating out. For best results, stick to salads, raw vegetables and other foods that contain high amounts of fiber and will therefore fill you up. This will help to make you feel less hungry when you do finally get to the restaurant or party where you will be dining, and you will be satisfied with eating smaller portions.

2. Pack Half for Later

Another great tip to keep in mind when dining out is to pack away half of your food for later. Research has found that servings in restaurants today have nearly doubled in size when compared to those served 50 years ago. In order to prevent a slip from your diet, ask your waiter to pack away half the food before it even comes to the table. This way, you will be less tempted to eat the food that is in front of you, and you will be getting substantially fewer calories.

3. Don’t Drink Your Calories

Avoid drinking your calories when dining out. Per gram, alcohol contains nine calories per gram. Compare this to protein and carbohydrate, which each contain only four calories per gram. Therefore, it is no surprise that alcoholic drinks have been found to strongly correlate to significant increases in weight. Alcoholic mixers such as soda, juice and dairy products also are high in both fat and calories, and therefore can increase the calorie content of your drink even more. For best results, if you must have an alcoholic drink, choose liquor that is served on the rocks, or use mixers that contain few or no calories, such as diet sodas or water.

4. Avoid Desserts

For best results when it comes to dining out on a diet, avoid desserts. Desserts are often loaded with high amounts of sugar, which can not only cause significant weight gain, but can also lead to changes in blood sugar levels. If you must have a sweet treat after your dinner, choose fruit desserts that are as fresh as possible.

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  • Edward Platz

    I agree with you! Planning makes the difference.
    The truth is that the more you eat in, the more you can control and the healthier your plate is going to be.
    People consume 50% more calories, fat and sodium when they eat out than when they cook at home. Restaurant customers often miss out on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and other vitamin-rich “powerhouse foods”. And overeating, which is harder to avoid at restaurants, will lead to obesity.
    Clearly, we are much more interested in and knowledgeable about food these days, as reflected in the increasing popularity of cooking shows, magazines, and cookbooks; yet we seem to be cooking at home less and less… Why?
    I think all the emphasis on chef-inspired food porn has skewed the reality of what home cooking is all about and may have scared people away from the kitchen.
    However, home cooking recipes taste so much better, are full of nutrients and you are in charge of every ingredient used. It is quicker to prepare dishes than you might think! It is also healthier and more economical, which can be especially important these days.
    Yes, I love eating out, but I am also into home cooking.