How to Reduce the Guilt of Dining Out

Posted: Apr 01 in Health And Wellness, Obesity Medicine, Weight loss by

Food is one of the great pleasures of life and dining out, especially with friends or loved ones, is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience good food. One of the drawbacks of dining out is losing a level of knowledge and control over exactly what you are consuming. If you’re conscious of your weight or have dietary restrictions, restaurant eating can be a minefield of unhealthy options. With a little attention to detail, you can learn to navigate any restaurant menu and remain in control of your diet.

  • A simple rule to consider is that plain foods are almost always healthier choices. Anything breaded and fried, covered with cheese or swimming in any creamy sauce is still going to have more calories and fat than a broiled fish sprinkled with herbs.
  • Ask that any sauces, dressings or gravy served with your meal come on the side. This way, you have more control over just how much, or how little, you consume.
  • Of course, you know the highest temptation, and the most diabolical threat to any healthy meal is that delicious bread basket at the beginning of the meal when your hunger is greatest, and your resolve may be the weakest. The only guaranteed way to resist this temptation is to ask your server not to bring the basket at all.
  • If you’re dining with a like-minded companion, consider ordering one entree and splitting it. Many restaurant meals offer significantly more food than you probably put on your plate at home, so neither one of you should feel cheated.
  • If sharing a plate is not an option or if the restaurant frowns on the practice, you can still enjoy a satisfying half-portion of your meal and take the remainder home for a future dinner of leftovers. It will save you calories and money when you can get two meals for the price of one.
  • Choose vegetables for your side dishes and don’t make the mistake of considering potatoes to be a vegetable. Starchy foods, such as potatoes or rice, might be satisfying and filling, but they aren’t going to give you the nutritional punch of broccoli or asparagus.
  • The all-you-can-eat buffet is a challenge you should avoid. All of those sights and smells can be intoxicating. A dab of this and a taste of that can explode out of control into a fat and calorie-laden meal. You will always be better off ordering controlled portions, even if those portions may be a little larger than your average servings.
  • Many items listed as appetizers come in a portion large enough to be considered a meal. Or, if need be, order two appetizers to give yourself enough food to constitute a meal, but not enough to be overwhelming.
  • At the close of the meal, the greatest temptation is still to come. The dessert menu has proven to be the downfall of many staunch dieters. The secret to success here is the simple fact that the tenth bite of that chocolate fudge cake tastes exactly like the first one or two. Order dessert if you must, but ask for enough forks for everyone at the table. After you’ve indulged in those first couple bites, you may very well have satisfied that sweet tooth, for yourself and the others at the table.

Dining out is more popular now than it was for most past generations. With the joy of eating in various restaurants comes the struggle to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. Fortunately, there are more tools at the disposal of every savvy diner to help you in your journey.

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