Tips for Dining Out

Tips for Dining Out

Let's face it. We can't always control the food laid down on us when we eat out, but what we can do control are the foods we can eat and the places where we can eat them. Below are some tips you can follow when choosing a restaurant for eating out while dieting.


It all boils down to good research and foresight - know the number of calories you need for the day, with your lifestyle and activities paced. If you ate something big for breakfast, have a light lunch or dinner. Know which food you can and you can't eat, and match it up on the restaurant's menu.

Prior to the actual munching, you can look up the menu online through the restaurant's website or especially dedicated sites such as Most, if not many, restaurants always provide nutritional facts about their food, as there as many health buffs around.

The last part of your research would be to talk to the restaurant staff, to the manager or even the chef of your favorite restaurant for their feedback about the menu, and which food in their list is a recommended option for your diet.

Work your way around the menu

Can't resist the pasta? Choose pasta with tomato sauce instead of cream sauces. This way, you get to stay away from much fat and calories. As a plus, tomatoes are considered vegetables. This goes the same way for your soups - cream soups have higher fat and calories than broth-based soups. Don't crash your diet with just one bowl of soup. Soup is known to be a great appetizer or as an entrée. With the exception of cream soups, most soups served are low in fat and will surely get you going.

While you can, opt for recipes that are either baked, grilled, dry-sautéed, poached, steamed, poached or broiled other than the occasional fried or deep-fried recipes. The cooking techniques mentioned above uses far less fat and few to no oil at all when cooking, and thus, have lower calories. Fish are good dinner options, however, they are best when ordered steamed or baked.

Entrees served with fruits and vegetables are good picks when eating out as they have high levels of dietary fiber and minerals. Be wary of your choices, though, as some recipes come served with cheese and butter, which of course are rich in calories and fat.

Ordering salad naturally comes as a healthy option, but dressings such as cheese and crouton can disrupt the amounts of fat and calories in your system.

When choosing meat, always ask for leaner cuts like chicken breast (skinless), turkey burgers, beef sirloin and pork loin. Whole grain is the way to go, hence, be sure to add them in your top lists when eating out. Go for whole wheat bread, tortillas and so. Brown rice is a preferred choice for diet than the traditional white rice.

You can be adventurous and healthy at the same time by trying out foods flavored with spices and herbs. Adventurous in a sense you choose new dishes such as Latin American dishes or Asian recipes and healthy because these foods are more likely to contain lower fat and sodium. Always think of the other ingredients too, though, such as fat and oil.

For dessert, it is always advisable to go for low fat and low calorie desserts such as fruit or sorbet. If you can't resist the cakes and pastries, it is also best to share it with your partner.

Again, you can always ask the restaurant people on how these food items were prepared and what ingredients they have used.

Give it a hint of your personal taste

Restaurants are here to serve and please people. When eating out, don't hesitate to ask for a special preparation of your menu - as in preparing it with less salt, low calorie, no cheese, etc. You are the restaurant's guest and it is their main mission to please their guests.

Control how much food you have by ordering salads or sauces on the side. Also, choose vinaigrette as your dressing than cream based dressings.

As much as you can, go for water only, diet soda, or unsweetened tea or coffee. This way, you get to stay away from a lot of calories and sugar.

When choosing side dishes, go for baked potatoes or steamed vegetables. You may also try and have your side dishes substituted for vegetables or potatoes even if the menu has no listing. Most restaurants will gladly do the exchange for you.

When ordering grilled food, you can ask for it to be grilled light with less butter or oil, or with none at all.

As a sauce of your baked potatoes, ask for salsa instead of the cream sauces like cheese, sour cream or even bacon. Salsa is considered a vegetable serving and has low calories, making it the best alternative for baked potato sauce.

Go for the "light" soy sauce, those with less sodium in it.

Ask for mustard when ordering sandwiches, instead of the mayonnaise or the specialty sauces. Not only does mustard add flavor, it has no calories as well. Also, you can try asking for whole wheat bread, no cheese and more vegetables. Stay away from mayonnaise when eating sandwiches as much as possible - this includes chicken salad, tuna and even egg salad.

Share the experience - listen to your body.

Two is a company - share your restaurant experience with a loved one or a friend. Half your dish only means you have half of the calories.

Know when to stop - listen to your body. You stomach and your head will usually give off some subtle cues that remind you that you've had enough.

Live to eat for another day - you can always have the meal wrapped up and served as a second meal at home, or maybe pack it up for lunch at work the other day. Not only do you save yourself from calories, you got yourself a second meal for the price of one meal.

Instead of ordering an appetizer, a main course and dessert, you can go eat less by ordering two appetizers, or a salad and an appetizer as your main meal.

Almost all restaurants serve healthy menu options. You can have a healthy meal if you know what you want and how you can have it served in your plate.

Who says you can't eat out while dieting? Of course you can. Depriving yourself of food will not help you diet, it might even corrupt your diet by making you over eat the next time you do. Everything will go well if taken in balanced portions.

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1 Comment(s)

Good article. Thanks!
By: Chris 9 years ago

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