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Dining Out Doesn't Have to Be Dangerous

Author: Oksana Aron, MD Source: Weight Loss NYC Jun 19, 2015

Weight Loss Tips for Dining Out

Nationwide statistics show Americans dining out for almost 1/3 of their meals, with almost 1/2 of their food budget spent at these establishments.[1]

Given our tendency to dine out, it is worthwhile to consider ways you can manage and maintain your weight loss dieting program on the go. Some simple guidelines follow, as well as some links to some of our more popular posts past:

healthy dining out

Simple Tips for Planning Ahead

  • Avoid unlimited buffets and junk food franchises. Salad bars are good if you choose the healthy staple items not the dangerous ones.
  • Cater to places with extended menus to help you find healthy choices you will like. Favor seafood and salad places for healthier fare. Soups can be good, but know what you are choosing. Ask.
  • Best to plan ahead to dine out instead of splurging on surprise outings. Consider reviewing online menu before going so you will know what you will have.
  • Focus on eating for nutrition, not as a social activity. Make reservations to manage your cravings and limit the temptations to drink and snack while waiting. You can even have some small healthy crudite before leaving home to settle your stomach.
  • Stay away from large portions and fried food places. Know what is reasonable for you to eat and enjoy with your diet.
  • Consider sharing entrees with friends to manage your portions. Don’s be shy about tossing aside bread and extra carbs. Send away any extra munchies the waiter puts on your table. Only eat what you intend to eat.
  • As always, start to drink water as soon as you arrive and while waiting for meal.
  • Ask your server about options — extra salad instead of a heavier side dish. Bring your own dressing if you want to be sure of low calories. Add veggies to your entree to fill you up and slow you down.

Power Tips — Know your Menu Vocabulary

  • Bad: Buttery, Breaded, Buttered, Fried, Pan-Fried, Creamed, Scalloped, Au Gratin.
  • Better: Grilled, Baked, Steamed, Broiled, Poached, Stir-Fried, Roasted, Blackened.
  • Avoid: Cream sauces, made with milk, mayonnaise, cheese or oil.
  • Look for tomato based sauces instead. Order all sauces on the side and use sparingly.

Follow Your Diet Plan

As always, follow the diet guidelines presented to you by Dr. Aron. She will have told you your calorie limits and suggested foods for you to enjoy and avoid. Fill up on water, salad and vegetables first. Focus on your friends more than the food. Slow down and pace yourself so you can enjoy your meal and not be left hungry and crave more. Your body also needs time to recognize the food in your system to trigger satisfaction. It is also more than OK to leave the table a little hungry. You never need to stuff yourself, be gentle to your body.

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Sources: [1] USDA, National Restaurant Association. Adapted from Sparkpeople

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