We’re all guilty. Sometimes more than once a day. Eating out. Dining at a restaurant can be more convenient than stopping at the grocery store at the end of a long day, not to mention you still have to cook the meal and clean up the mess. It’s also a common occurrence to meet with friends and catch up over a delicious brunch, dinner, celebrate your anniversary or maybe that first date. Whatever the occasion, depending where you go and what you order, eating out can wreck your waistline.
In an effort to limit that from happening, here are some tips to consider when dining out:
- Don’t show up hungry! You are setting yourself up for failure. Being overly hungry at a place with too many good smells will make you order more than you usually would. The more you order, the more you’ll eat!
- Drink Water! Water will help you become full without the bread or salsa and chips. Adding some lemon, lime or cucumbers (or my favorite, orange) will help boost the flavor without feeling guilty like you would drinking a sugary soda. Plus, your bill will be cheaper!
- Look up the calories before you arrive. Be knowledgeable! Most restaurants have their menu available online. If the calories aren’t on the menu utilize your smart phone to view apps like CalorieKing which breaks down all nutritional value for your favorite item.
- Make special requests. From working in the food industry previously, I know you can order your favorite items “dry-fried” or “without butter.” Yes, that scrumptious steak you always order is loaded with butter. Trust me, order it without butter. The flavor will still be there without the added calories.
- Order your food “undressed.” Anytime a menu item comes with creams or sauces always opt to have them on the side. Or you can add low calorie condiments like salsa, mustard or balsamic vinegar instead.
- Substitute. There is no question you should be asking for fruit or veggies rather than mashed potatoes and coleslaw. Tip: ask to have your veggies “steamed” without butter.
- Dessert. Sharing is caring, right? Having a spoonful of chocolate cake smothered in hot chocolate syrup and whip cream never hurt anyone. But just have one, and share with your friends.
- Socialize! Some of my favorite times involve good friends over dinner. Enjoy your time, slow down and chew your food thoroughly. Save on the calories by letting your friends taste what you ordered.
Calorie counting is just like saving money. A few penny’s here and a few there sure do add up at the end of the month. Calories add up too, but in a bad way. Instead of saving calories, shed them. Remember, eating out is inevitable. Apply these tips into your healthy eating habits each time you dine out.