Eating out at restaurants can pose challenges for the diet minded individual, but it’s not impossible, and it should be a pleasant experience—even on a diet. Follow the 5 Tips for Eating Right at Restaurants below to make eating out the pleasure it’s meant to be. Look on the bright side: When you’re finished eating, you won’t have to clean up after yourself.
Obviously, you’ll want to stick to ordering healthy foods, but there are several other strategies that help with self-control when eating out at a restaurant.
Control the Venue
Often, when joining friends or colleagues for a meal in a restaurant, your dining partners will say, “Where would you like to eat?” Do whatever it takes to keep from saying, “Oh, I don’t know, where would you like to eat?” Suggest two or three “safe” restaurants, and allow the other party to select one of those restaurants. (It gets easier with practice.)
Don’t Enter the Restaurant Ravenous
Fill up on water and an appetite-suppressing snack before you eat out. That will help you control temptation, and your” eyes won’t be bigger than your stomach” when you sit down and open the menu. You’ll be more likely to eat slowly when you’re not ravenous, and eating slowly helps you to eat only until your hunger is satisfied.
Little White Lies
When you ask the server about ingredients in some of the menu selections, never say, “I’m on a diet.” Instead, tell the server that you’re allergic to certain ingredients. They understand allergies, and the last thing they want is an ambulance pulling up to the restaurant to haul away one of the patrons. It’s not good for tips, and the thought is even less appealing to restaurant management. If, for example, you’re on a gluten-free diet, you aren’t the first patron to require gluten-free selections. Beware of hidden ingredients, but unless you’re truly allergic to them, allow yourself a little flexibility when eating out.
Restaurant portions are often large enough to feed an army. If you see oversized portions, order a salad and an appetizer instead of a full-size entrée.
Double Your Pleasure
If you do order a regular entrée, ask for a take-out box to be delivered with your meal, not after you’ve finished eating. Put away half of your order even before you start eating. Imagine the spectacle of opening that take-out box and putting some of the food back on your plate! It’s just not going to happen. As a bonus, you’ve got tomorrow’s lunch already made.
Millions of diet-minded people eat out every day. It’s simply a matter of training yourself to never let your hunger get out control, selecting a suitable restaurant and taking responsibility for your selections. Once you master those techniques, you can enjoy eating out in a restaurant.