You know the feeling. It’s Friday night and you’re going out to eat with friends. You’re also trying desperately to lose weight and after a week of sticking on your plan at work and at home, you’re now faced with dinner OUT.
Panic. Sets. In.
Eating out on a diet can be scary. But take a deep breath and focus. Rather than give in to the belief you will be screwed either way (so might as well go all out), tell yourself- you got this. With a little pre-planning you don’t have to fear restaurant food.
Be sure to look at the menu ahead of time, because once you’re there you’ll likely feel rushed and won’t be able to focus. Identify the best choice, and know what you will want to steer clear of. Then commit to an order, and stick to it. Don’t be tempted once everyone else is ordering junk and the waiter is dropping baskets of bread in your face.
Not sure what the best choice is? Here’s a little cheat sheet to help you navigate even the toughest cuisine.
The diet killer: chips & salsa
What to order: Steak or chicken fajitas, but toss the tortillas (tell the server not to bring them) and be mindful with the toppings.
Avoid at all costs: the margaritas
The diet killer: bread basket
What to order: Fish or steak with a plain baked potato and veggie side. Ask for any sauces to be on the side or left off.
Avoid at all costs: any pasta dish, especially with cream sauce
The diet killer: egg rolls
What to order: veggies & a protein (chicken, fish, steak) steamed or sautéed in light oil and ask for extra veggies instead of rice. If the rice is on the side have just a little bit.
Avoid at all costs: soy sauce and other dressings/sauces
The diet killer: a burger, fries and beer
What to order: If the menu is sparse, your best bet is a salad with grilled chicken and dressing on the side. Or go for a grilled chicken sandwich without the bun and ask for steamed veggies or a side salad instead of fries.
Avoid at all costs: anything fried
The diet killer: appetizers/pita bread
What to order: Fish, chicken or steak grilled with extra veggies on the side. Enjoy a little hommos but don’t go overboard.
Avoid at all costs: greek salad dressing and baklava!
Another tip: if you really feel tempted, allow yourself just one indulgence. Either a piece of bread before dinner, a drink (ONE drink), or dessert. Never all three.
Going out to eat should be about the atmosphere and the company, not the food. It is not an excuse to go crazy and undo five days of hard work. You can still have a good meal and a great time and not feel guilty about it the next morning.