You know that dining out isn’t the healthiest option, and when you are trying to lose weight the best thing you can do is avoid restaurants as much as possible. But for many people, a successful weight loss program will take the better part of a year—and even after you have reached your weight loss goal, long-term management requires ongoing adherence to the healthy eating strategies that you developed during your weight loss program. This means that attempting to avoid restaurants altogether while you are redefining about your health and eating habits is rarely practical as a long-term strategy.
Even the most committed home-chef will go out to eat once in a while. The problem with eating out too often is that it relinquishes your control over the food you are eating. How the food is prepared and the types of ingredients used are all left up to someone else.
The best thing that you can do before heading out to eat is a little online research, and then to develop a strategy to ensure that you have approached your dining out experience in the healthiest way possible.
Here are a few strategies to help make your dining out experience as healthy as possible:
- Go big or go home. When you pick the restaurant, try finding one that has a really large menu. The more options there are on the menu, the more likely you’ll be able to find a healthy meal you’ll like.
- The way to go is H20. Order water as soon as you sit down, before you have a chance to talk yourself into getting a soda. Restaurants are the worst place to get soda. Thanks to the free refills you could down 10 sodas before you even know it.
- Shun the buns. Tell the wait staff to skip the free bread. If someone else at your table really wants bread, then push your plate into the middle of the table to remind yourself that you aren’t eating it. Visual cues like moving your plate away can help remind you not to eat.
- Stop the starters. Think about how you prepare your meals at home. There are usually no appetizers and rich desserts. Try to model that behavior as closely as possible and go straight for a sensible main dish.
Healthy strategies like these can help shape your behavior at the restaurant so that you can set yourself up for a more healthy dining experience. From here, it all comes down to what you order. Use what you know about ideal diets for weight to make your choices.