Eating out is apart of my way of life, but I want to still eat healthy. Which is why I have learned the art eating healthy when eating out. I have lost 6 pounds in one week before and still ate out (see my blog here). And that was with no exercise. So that just goes to show how important your eating is when it comes to losing weight. But of course you do not want to be a shut in and skip out on dining out because of your diet restrictions.
The wonderful thing about this day and age is that restaurants are becoming pro healthy, so eating healthy when eating out is not as hard as you might think. All of the pictures below are from actual times of when I ate out. You can follow my Instagram page here as I try to eat healthy often, but don’t judge me if you see some food slips.
How To Start Eating Healthy When Eating Out
Pick the Low Calorie Menu
Most restaurants have a skinny menu or a low calorie menu with some pretty good options, so opt for items on this menu over the traditional menu.
Often times restaurants specifically have vegan, vegetarian, or low carb items marked on the menu. So even if the restaurant does not have calorie count marked on the menu, it is better to gravitate toward these specially marked items as they tend to be healthier.
Soup and Salad
Once again a popular option at restaurant is to get a soup and salad combination. But there is a key to this. When you are eating salads unless you dump loads of dressing on it, it is going to be pretty healthy anyway. Since soups and salads are unlimited the last thing you want is to get bowls and bowls full of soup. First, eat a fair amount of salad. It will allow you to fill up so you do not eat as much soup. And then get a soup, and try to choose a lower calorie broth based soup over something like a bake potato soup.
I have become famous for this. Often times instead of meat I will get tofu instead. Or instead of getting bake potato for a side dish you can opt for a veggie like broccoli or asparagus. Ordering a veggie burger over a regular burger or choosing a side salad over fries. Choosing a wheat bun over a white bun, or skipping the bun altogether. Places like Red Robin offer a lettuce wrap over a bun. Also, be careful on the type of meat you have. Choose baked chicken over fried chicken and tried to avoid beef at all cost.
Eating an Appetizer as an Entree
Appetizers are typically used to eat before your meal, but replacing your whole meal with an appetizer is a great option as well. This is something that I do more than any of the other option. In case you think that the appetizer will be too small, then just get a side salad option so that it will help fill you up. There is a key to picking an appetizer though. Getting a something like fried onion rings are not healthy. I do not care if an onion is a vegetable, having it fried is counter productive.
Instead choose something that is healthier. Just to give you an idea I have gotten things like stemmed mussels, spinach dip, or veggies rolls with rice paper.
When people go out to eat, they may get an alcoholic drink, soda, or a sugary drink. Instead of doing that, just choose to get a glass of water. It is free, calorie free, and drinking a good amount of water is a good way to loose weight. As a bonus you can add a lemon to it, which will give you an additional weight lost factor.
Skip the Dessert
I know it is tempting to want to get something sweet at the end of your meal. But do not do that. Resist the urge and you will be thankful that you did. Going out to eat has higher calories then eating at home anyway so adding a dessert to the mix it just making it worse on yourself. If you must have something sweet then wait until you get home. Having a fruit when you get home or even a cup of all natural vanilla ice cream is better than getting a deep fried Twinkies or double chocolate brownie a la mode at a restaurant.
Avoid All You Can Eat Places
When you go to Golden Coral or places that have an all you can eat buffet that is exactly what you going to do. Most people when they spend money on a buffet they go back for more than one plate which leads them to over eat, so it is best to just stay away from these places. If you must go another option to choose is to just opt for the salad bar and just fill up on salad instead. I have often gone to all you can eat buffets such as Ruby Tuesdays and getting their endless salad bar, in which you can fill up on salad. Or I have gone to the Chinese Buffet and still lost weight. I focused on items such as fish (not fried), green beans, cabbage, and stemmed chicken. No rice or noodles. It can be done.