Make no mistake about it, it’s easy to pack on pounds by eating out, as most restaurants have a large selection of calorie-laden menu items. Says Candy Harrington, author of Eating Well on the Road: A Travel Writer’s Strategy for Weight Loss, Healthy Living and Lifestyle Changes, “Eating out with friends and family is very much a part of our culture; but if we just alter the way we do it a little bit, it doesn’t have to be a high calorie experience.”
With that in mind, here are Candy’s suggestions for trimming the calories when you eat out.
- Look up the nutritional information for the restaurant on the internet, then decide what you are going to eat before you leave home, and stick with it. Many chain restaurants now have their nutritional information available on-line. If no nutritional information is available, browse the menu and make the best choice you can before you get to the restaurant.
- Pass on the appetizers, as most are loaded with fat and calories.
- Skip the cocktails and wine. Instead drink a lot of water.
- Order a senior portion or split your plate with a companion. In most restaurants the portions are oversized, to increase the bottom line.
- Ask the server to remove the bread from your table.
- Order a salad with the dressing on the side, and fill up on that before your entree arrives. Stop eating when you are full, and don’t feel compelled to clean your plate.
- Ask to have your fish grilled instead of fried.
- Put your fork down between each bite and enjoy the conversation. If you eat slower you’ll actually eat less by the time you get that full sensation.
- Ask for a doggie bag up front and then fill it with half of your meal. This will prevent you from overeating, or grazing on your plate after you are full.
- Avoid buffets or home-style restaurants. It’s easy to overeat at the former, while the latter usually has a menu full of comfort food items, that have a lot of calories, fat and sodium.