Eating out should be a pleasurable experience – definitely something to look forward to! However, eating out doesn’t need to ruin your weight loss targets. Here are a few strategies that will help you keep to your diet.
Before You Go Out
Don’t starve yourself before you go out – this is a recipe for disaster, as you’ll end up overeating. If necessary, have a healthy snack before you go and drink some water to ensure that you’re well hydrated.
Think about your weight-loss goals before you go out – this will help you to stay in control. Visualise how you’ll look and feel when you achieve your weight-loss goals.
If you are going to a restaurant try to get a look at the menu before you go out – it’s easier to make healthy choices in the comfort of your own home. Ask the waiter for extra vegetables or salad instead of the pasta or potatoes. Chances are they will only be too happy to oblige. Good options include:
- Tandoori mixed grill with salad & side vegetables (avoid rice and bread)
- Kebabs with plenty of veg – no pitta bread
- Meat with salad and vegetables (avoid potatoes)
- Omelette (with filling of your choice)
Steer clear of pasta or rice based meals and focus on meat and vegetables. Avoid bread – particularly during your starter. Needless to say, forgo dessert if you’re serious about achieving your weight loss goals – sugar laden puddings are a disaster if you are watching your weight. Go for a cheese board instead, and go easy on the crackers.
Avoid fruit juices and fizzy drinks – water is the best option. If you’re drinking alcohol, go for a couple of glasses of red wine.
Eat mindfully when you’re eating out – eat slowly, chew your food, and stop eating when you are pleasantly full. Just because you’ve paid for the food doesn’t mean you have to finish absolutely everything. Most restaurants will be happy to wrap surplus food for you to take away.
Eating Out at Social Events
Make sure you aren’t too hungry before you go. If you’re going to be waiting a long time before you eat, take some fruit or mixed nuts as well as a bottle of water. Avoid bread and breaded products such as chicken nuggets. Fill up on fresh salad and steer away from potato salad and pasta salads.
Avoid dessert – if necessary take a small piece to be polite and eat it very slowly. Keep half of it on your plate as a way of deflecting people from offering you more. Plan how many alcoholic drinks you will have and stick to it. Drink water in between every alcoholic drink – you’ll feel better the next day when everyone else is suffering!
Watch Your Alcohol
You don’t need to drink loads to have a good time. Alcohol contributes to weight gain, so you should moderate your alcohol intake. Set yourself limits before you go out – and stick to these limits!
Hopefully these guidelines will help you to enjoy eating out without wrecking your weight loss goals. Enjoy your food, take your time eating, and focus on the foods that you can have rather than the ones you can’t – dishes with meat, fish, vegetables, salad & cheese. Bon Appétit!
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