Restaurants often take all of the flack for people failing on their diets. Contrary to popular belief it is possible to dine out and not sabotage your weight loss efforts. Follow the tips provided in the guide to eating out on a diet.
Plan Your Dining Out Ahead
Many restaurants have their full menus online. You should look up the menu ahead of time and pick out the healthiest options available to you. If the restaurant does not have their menu online you should pick one up in person. Make a collection of menus for your favorite restaurants to use the next time you plan a night out. This tip will help you avoid the fattening options that will blow your diet.
Order From the Appetizer or Kid’s Menu
No one said you have to partake of the huge portions offered off of the main menu. Kid’s choices and appetizers are great when you are looking for smaller portion sizes and healthier options. You will also save a lot of money by ordering off the main menu as well.
Avoid These Bad Words!
In the world of restaurants there are certain bad words that you can identify on the menu that tell you a dish is full of fat and calories. Words such as cream sauce, deep fried, breaded, melted cheese, smothered, and gravy are all buzz words to steer clear of. Try ordering something from the menu that has words like baked, fresh, grilled, and so on.
Make Special Requests
Years ago it was not possible to make special requests. Now it is common place for most restaurants to accommodate your special order. Ask for things to be prepared in healthier ways such as baked, broiled, and grilled. Also ask for light versions of dressings and condiments. Make sure they put them on the side too. Substitute the fries for healthy vegetables or fruit as well. The nice thing is that most restaurants will not charge extra for special requests.
Skip the Drinks and Sodas
A perfectly healthy meal can be ruined by a high calorie drink. It’s easy to consume an extra 300-500 calories in drinks alone. Many restaurants offer free refills. Having two drinks can easily add nearly 1,000 calories to your meal. Sugary sodas and alcoholic drinks are the biggest culprits when it comes to empty calories. Skip out on the drinks and go for some good old fashioned water.
Save Some for Later
Portion control is key when dining out. One good tactic is to eat half of your meal and have the server wrap up the rest. You cut the calories in half and are able to stretch one meal into two.
Share with Your Sweetheart
If your significant other is willing to share a meal then do so. Ask for two plates and all of a sudden you have two meals. Again, you’ll be able to control your portions and save a lot of money. This is a great way for couples to be able to dine out together and stick to their weight loss goals.
Avoid the Buffets
Buffets are a death trap to dieters trying to lose weight. The pure variety makes it very hard to resist the temptation. Having just one piece of twenty different foods doesn’t mean you were good either. The calories add up deceptively fast.
The Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants in America
Below we have listed some of the healthiest fast food chains in the country. It really shows you that eating out doesn’t have to ruin your diets. Let’s review:
- Panera Bread
This restaurant has over 1,300 locations in the U.S. and Canada. It is a bakery that features a lot of low fat, natural food choices. Patrons can partake of whole grains and fruit that are scattered throughout the menu options.
- Jason’s Deli
This chain features whole wheat wraps and organic veggies. You can also order smaller portions for one dollar less. Jason’s has approximately 200 locations in the Midwest and South.
- Au Bon Pain
This restaurant is so dedicated to health that they feature nutritional kiosks in each location. These kiosks are available right on the premises.
- Noodles and Company
Most noodle places are a dieter’s nightmare. Noodles and Company feature whole wheat noodle options cooked in soybean oil. They also have lean protein options. The location does offer desserts so be sure to steer clear.
- Corner Bakery Café
This chain only has 111 locations so it might be a little hard to track down. If you are fortunate enough to have one in your hometown you will love the egg white omelets with green peppers, red peppers, and onions. The Swiss oatmeal is also another breakfast favorite.
Chipotle may be a buffet joint, but it gives you the option of making a healthy version of your favorite Mexican dish. The good folks at Chipotle are dedicated to fresh, local, organic produce as well. Be careful about stacking on too much cheese and other Mexican favorite toppers.
- Atlanta Bread
This place features heart healthy whole grain sandwiches and soups. They also have muffin tops that pack a light weight punch of only 200 calories. There are some fattening dishes available too so show up with a little extra motivation.
This one is a shocker! Yes, the home of the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder is one of the healthier places to eat depending on what you order. They offer great tasting and healthy parfaits, oatmeal, chicken snack wraps, and the famous Egg McMuffin.
- Einstein Brothers Bagels
Bagels are usually something you want to avoid, but Einstein does them the healthy way. They have whole grain options that you can top with hummus.
- Taco Del Mar
This national chain offers some healthy fish options with some of the freshest ingredients around. Stay clear of the breakfast options.