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How to Eat Out / Dine Out When Dieting to Lose Weight

Dining Out - Eating Out

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Eating Out When On a Diet

Warning!
Dining out in a restaurant is a high risk activity. The presence of alcohol, a delicious looking menu, and the sight and smell of cooked food will tempt even the most disciplined dieter. So please think twice about dining out if you fall into any of these categories:

  • You have just started a diet
  • You find it difficult to dine out without bingeing
  • You know that you will end up in a fast food restaurant
  • You have raised cholesterol

10 Ways to lower the risk
There is no foolproof way to dine out in complete safety as far as your weight is concerned.

However, here are a few practical suggestions to help you eat out without doing too much damage to your waistline. You won't be able to follow all of them, but if you manage one or two it'll make a difference.

  • Don't make sudden decisions to dine out
    Instead, plan ahead. This enables you to be extra careful with your other meals in the days leading up to your meal out. This doesn't mean you should starve yourself - just make sure you stick exactly to your diet.
  • On the day in question, eat normally
    Don't be tempted to starve yourself just because you're going out later. (It's counter-productive!)
  • Choose restaurants with low fat options
    Fish restaurants are good choices, so are any restaurants with good salad bars.
  • Avoid all fast food restaurants and 'eat-all-you-can' menus
    They may be excellent value, but you'll end up wearing most of what you eat.
  • Always order a starter
    Choose soup or a fruit/salad-based dish. (Note: Ask for fat free dressing on all salads.)
  • Help yourself to bread
    Easy on the butter!
  • Go easy on the alcohol
    Partly because of it's calorie-content (which is quite high), partly because too much alcohol tends to make us throw caution to the wind. Result? Hello cheesecake!
  • Ordering main dishes
    Choose lean meat.
    Avoid sauces with oil, cheese or mayonnaise.
    Ask for vegetables without added butter or oil.
    Ask for baked/boiled potatoes, not fries.
    Ideally, ask for sauces and dressings 'on the side'.
  • Order extra vegetables
    Vegetables are low calorie. Indulge yourself.
  • Enjoy a lower fat dessert
    Any fresh fruit. 
    Lemon meringue is OK.
    Jelly/Jell-O is fine.
    Plain ice-cream is OK.
    Say No to cream. Instead, ask for yogurt or a scoop of plain ice-cream.

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