Ten Tips for Dining Out on a Diet

Updated on November 19, 2018
Carolyn M Fields profile image

I have followed the WW/Weight Watchers program for years, from "exchanges" up to the most recent Wellness Wins program.

Source

Dining Out

Eating in restaurants is not just about the food. For many, it’s also an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, explore new cuisines, or just let someone else cook so you can enjoy yourself at mealtime. Going on a diet may make you nervous about your dining-out options. But there’s no need to fear. With a little thought and advance preparation, you can enjoy a meal out and still stay on course with your weight-loss goals.

Tip #1: Careful Restaurant Selection

Not all restaurants are created equally when it comes to “diet friendly” meal options. If you can select the restaurant, you can set yourself up for success before you even walk in the door. Many restaurants feature menu options targeted specifically for the diner on a diet. Check your local listings on Google before you go. And remember, that “all-you-can-eat” buffet is probably not your best choice.

Tip #2: Research the Menu in Advance

Once you’ve selected the restaurant (or even if you didn’t get to choose), explore the menu options before you leave home. Many restaurants have their menus online. Also there are apps that can help you research your options (e.g., Grubhub, Seamless, etc.). Figure out in advance what the healthiest option will be, plus one back-up if possible.

Tip #3: Snack before You Leave Home

I understand that this sounds like a contradiction, but hear me out. If you “save up” all day by not eating, you’re going to arrive at the restaurant “hangry” (i.e., a combination of hungry and angry, or being irritable due to hunger). Eat something low calorie but high in protein, like a boiled egg or some yogurt, and you’ll be less likely to want to stuff yourself with the first thing you see (like the bread basket or chips with salsa).

Tip #4: Drink Water

Drink water before your meal, during your meal, and after your meal. It will make you feel full, and studies have shown that people who do this wind up eating fewer calories. If you don’t like “plain” water, then order some fancy fizzy water and put a lime slice in it.

Tip #5: Beware of Beverage Choices

Sugar-sweetened drinks are notoriously high in calories, and low on nutrition. But that’s not the only bad beverage choice you can make. Having just one alcoholic drink can not only add calories to your meal, it can also lower your inhibitions and make you more likely to drop your guard and eat more than you had planned.

Source

Tip #6: Salads – Friend or Foe?

Ordering a meal-sized salad sounds like a good option for a diet, right? Well, yes and no, depending on a number of details. If you get a nice salad of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and other veggies, but then dump a cup of high fat dressing over it, you’ve defeated the purpose of a salad. Also, entrée salads that include bacon bits, croutons, and other high calorie tidbits, may be higher in calories than an entrée of grilled fish and steamed veggies. Finally, always order your dressing “on the side.” Trust me on this one. It’s just better that way, and you have complete control over how much you use.

Tip #7: Watch Portion Sizes

Most restaurants in the United States (not so much in Europe) serve incredibly large portions. Who really needs a 16 ounce steak, with a fully loaded baked potato, salad, and bread? One option is to immediately put half in a container to take home, before you even start your meal. Or split an entrée with someone. Chances are you’ll still get plenty to eat, and save money too. Another way to control portion size is to order an appetizer, rather than (not in addition to) an entrée.

Tip #8: Slow Down

Dining out should be a happy, and social time. Slow down the meal by concentrating on the conversation, and make a point of putting down your fork or spoon between bites. Savor your food, by paying attention to the aromas, flavors, and textures. Also, you can get up and stretch, or go to the restroom. Slowing down gives your stomach a chance to catch up with your eyes and brain, and you will most likely eat less than you would have otherwise.

Tip #9: Split Desserts

If you’re dining out, chances are you don’t really want a fruit cup for dessert. Especially after you’ve seen what’s on the dessert cart. Opt instead to order one dessert for two or three people, and only take a bite or two. If you have a large party, you might be able to have one bite of three different desserts. Just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth, without going overboard.

Tip #10: Make Dining Out a Special Event

Last but not least, think of dining out as a special event, and something that you only do infrequently. Probably only once or twice a month would be good. Having an occasional indulgence isn’t going to tip the scales too far, but eating out every day or two will definitely put a strain on your good intentions.

How difficult is it for you to dine out on a diet?

See results

© 2018 Carolyn Fields

Comments

Submit a Comment
  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    8 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Poetikaly,

    Thanks for stopping by! Dining out on an totally empty stomach is like going to the grocery store hungry. Leads to bad decisions!

    Best,

    Carolyn

  • PoetikalyAnointed profile image

    PoetikalyAnointed 

    8 months ago from US

    Hello Carolyn,

    This Hub offers wonderful advice for dieters. It's also beneficial for those who opt to eat "lite" once in awhile. I must admit to having a "love affair" with Chicken Salad...Caesar to be specific. Chips and Salsa probably comes second. I love the idea of snacking before dinning. If you go on an empty stomach, you're probably pig out lol.

    Nice job!

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    9 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Louise,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. And learning about the hidden calories in salads is important, especially since some so-called healthy salads can be very rich. And don't get me started on salad bars!

    Best,

    C

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 

    9 months ago from Norfolk, England

    I find it is sometimes difficult to eat out on a diet. But like you say, it's best to choose where you go first. I also agree with what you said about salads. Sometimes this can be deceiving when they put added ingredients in it!

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    9 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Yves,

    You are absolutely correct - as you say they are obvious and yet not followed. I am guilty too. Sometimes I write hubs just to reinforce the message to myself! After publishing this, I had breakfast out in a diner (very larger portions), and yes - I took half home in a box! The power of suggestion!

    Dr. Rangan,

    Thanks for reading, and for the supportive comments.

    Hope others will benefit from the reminders as well.

    C

  • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

    Dr Pran Rangan 

    9 months ago from Kanpur (UP), India

    Thanks for a well written hub.

    It is quite informative for those who are on a diet but want to dine out. It will help them stay on the track while enjoying a meal in a restaurant.

  • savvydating profile image

    Yves 

    9 months ago

    Hi Carolyn,

    These tips may seem obvious to dieters who read them, but just how often do we really follow these tips? Generally speaking, we make excuses for eating in all the wrong ways when we go out to restaurants. And I am no exception to being really bad when it comes to eating out.

    However, the other day I went to may favorite breakfast place, where I usually "clean my plate," but this time I ate what I needed and left the rest. That's progress. If we really need to lose some weight in order to feel better, omitting 500 calories per day is a pretty doable option.

    Your tips are fantastic! Honestly, everything you said is truly helpful.

  • Carolyn M Fields profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Fields 

    9 months ago from South Dakota, USA

    Bronwen - thank you for your comment and suggestion. I think a hub on diabetic diet friendly dining is a great idea! I'll start researching. Glad you enjoyed the hub!

  • BlossomSB profile image

    Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

    9 months ago from Victoria, Australia

    These ten tips are great for people on a weight-loss diet and I enjoyed reading them. I was hoping for tips for those on other types of diets prescribed by doctors, such as diabetes, celiac, fodmap, etc. Perhaps next time!

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://delishably.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)