What happens when eating out on a diet? There are many difficulties you might encounter when deciding to have a break from your kitchen responsibilities and enjoy a savory dinner at a restaurant. First of all, you enter and feel those heavenly smells and hardly wait to see the menu. So, you order guided by appetite and ignore all nutritional information. In fact, studies show that people’s diet choices are not altered by the nutrition labels on menus which are meant to help consumers manage their diet and improve health.
Decode the menu
Before choosing the restaurant you should see the menu. Check it out on the restaurant’s internet site in order to get an idea on the healthy possibilities that will help you stick to your diet plan. When deciding you should pay attention to the descriptions and try to decode the menu. Thus, fried, pan-fried, au gratin, crispy, scalloped, sautéed, buttered, creamed or stuffed are high in fat and calories. On the other hand, steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, poached or roasted foods are good choices. Stay away from buffets and all-you-can-eat places.
Choose small portions and eat slowly
Enjoying a delicious meal doesn’t mean overeating. One of the biggest issues when dinning out on a diet is controlling portions as even though you make healthy choices, you can go wrong by eating all on your plate. Asking for larger portions when going out to eat might not be the safest way when aiming to lose weight. In consequence, you should ask for smaller portions. Still, if your favorite food doesn’t have a small-sized option on the menu, order and share it or just eat half of it and take the other half home. Moreover, eat slowly and chew thoroughly. When you finished, ask the server to take your plate.
Avoid creamy dressings
We always think that a salad is the healthiest pick one can make. However, you should know that there are nutritious salads and ‘intruders’ disguised in healthy salads. Always keep in mind that some types of dressings are high in calories. Imagine that one ladle of creamy dressing has about 300 calories. Besides, by mixing the wrong ingredients, such as bacon, cheese, eggs and creamy dressings, you’ll end up making the worst choice on the menu. Therefore, when looking for something lighter on the menu board you should skip the dressing and squeeze some fresh lemon juice or add a small amount of fat-free or low-fat dressing. Also, try to avoid the mayonnaise.
Often taken for granted, the role water plays in the weight loss process is in fact crucial. Studies revealed that decreasing the water intake causes fat deposits to increase, while increasing the water intake can reduce fat deposits. Hence, when eating out, ask for water as sodas and alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Alcohol can also impede us from deciding correctly when it comes to healthy foods. Another good and healthy option is a cup of unsweetened tea.
Be careful with carbs and desserts
We all know that desserts represent the ultimate challenge when dieting. More problematic is the fact that restaurant desserts are usually filled with trans and saturated fats, but also sugars and simple carbs. This is why, when craving for a decadent treat, order fresh fruits which are naturally sweet and provide healthy nutrients for the body, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you still want to satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for sugar-free sorbet or ice cream, yogurt, meringues, or split a slice of cake with your friends. Also, avoid biscuits, croissants, and ask for whole-grain bread, rolls or breadsticks.
Photos: Thinkstock Photos