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5 Ways To Enjoy Dining Out without Derailing Your Diet

Picture this: you’ve finally made the decision to follow a diet and you’ve done your homework and established all the items to buy at the grocery store, figured out how to prepare your meals to be both tasty and nutritious, and gotten rid of all the temptations lurking in your fridge. Things are going smoothly, until…your friends invite you out to dinner.

The prospect of dining out while on a diet can bring on anxiety and the sense that if you go, you’ll be weak or out of control. Well my friend, we are here to alleviate those fears. Sticking to a healthy diet doesn’t require you to eat every meal at home for the rest of your life. By adhering to the following tips, you can enjoy dining out without derailing your diet.

Avoid Appetizers

When dining at one of your go-to restaurants, do you always indulge in an appetizer? While many popular appetizers taste scrumptious, they’re caloric (not to mention budgetary) disasters. Besides calories, appetizers often contain mind boggling levels of saturated fat and sodium. If you’re struggling to lose weight, avoid succumbing to cravings for things like fried onion rings, spinach artichoke dip, and buffalo wings. Skipping appetizers can help you both whittle your waistline and save money on your bill.

Stay Well Hydrated With Water

In addition to avoiding appetizers, drink water when you dine at restaurants. When dieting, some people concentrate solely on the food they eat. However, the sodas, teas, juices, and alcoholic beverages served at restaurants are often filled with both calories and sugar. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, ask your server to bring you a couple of lemon slices. Lemon slices will both liven up the taste of your drink and make it look more festive. Like avoiding appetizers, drinking water will reduce your meal’s cost and provide your skin with benefits all year long.

How is The Meal Prepared?

Suppose you’re craving shrimp, but the menu only lists fried seafood options. When you run into this type of situation, start by asking your server whether grilling, broiling, boiling, or blackening your entrée is possible. Chefs are often extremely accommodating to customers who request alternative preparation techniques. If you crave a baked potato, order it plain. Skipping the sour cream, butter, and cheese will save you a ton of calories. Also, ask for salad dressings on the side. Don’t drench your greens with the dressing. Instead, dip your fork into the sauce before piling it high with salad.

Study Calorie Counts in Advance

Before heading out to the restaurant, use this handy food calculator from WebMD or google the calorie counts of some of the dishes you may order. It’s better not to do this at the table since it can make other diners uncomfortable and distract from the social interaction you’re having with your friends. You can also look up this info when you’re back at home if you run out of time. If you don’t want to take this extra step, you can’t go wrong by ordering lean sources of protein, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid sodas, sweets, and fried foods, and you’ll be well on your way to feeling (and looking) your best.

Request a To-Go Box

As you order a delicious entrée at your favorite restaurant, request a to-go box. If you receive a super-sized portion of food, pack up part of it in the to-go box before taking your first bite. Doing this will prevent you from consuming too much food. You’ll also have tasty leftovers to eat the next day.

Dieting makes some people feel isolated from the rest of the world. They come to believe they can’t relish dining out with friends and family members at their favorite eateries. Fortunately, armed with the aforementioned tips, you can eat at restaurants without feeling guilty afterwards. You might even start enjoying your experiences at restaurants more than ever before, as you discover ways to eat more cheaply, and more healthy.