Want to eat out without compromising your weight loss goals? Check out these top 10 tips for eating out for weight loss.
Eating out can be challenging when you’re trying to lose weight. With so many tempting options on the menu, it’s easy to go overboard and sabotage your progress. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy eating out while still making healthy choices. In this article, we’ll give you our top 10 tips for eating out for weight loss.
Table of Contents
1. Research before you go out
When it comes to eating out for weight loss, research is essential. Before heading out to a restaurant, take some time to research the restaurant and the menu. This will help you make informed decisions about what to order and how to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
First, look up the restaurant online and check out its website or social media pages. This can give you an idea of the type of cuisine they serve, the atmosphere of the restaurant, and any special deals or promotions they may offer.
Next, review the menu ahead of time. Most restaurants now post their menus online, which makes it easy to browse and plan your meal in advance. Take note of any healthy options, such as grilled or baked dishes, salads, or vegetable sides. Look for dishes that are high in protein and fiber, which will help you feel full and satisfied without overindulging in high-calorie foods.
Finally, consider the portion sizes at the restaurant. Many restaurants serve large portions that are much bigger than a typical serving size. If the portions are large, consider sharing a meal with a friend or taking home leftovers. This will help you avoid overeating and stay on track with your weight loss goals.
By doing your research before you go, you’ll be better prepared to make healthy choices when dining out. This will help you enjoy your meal without sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
2. Choose your restaurant wisely
Choosing your restaurant wisely is key when it comes to eating out for weight loss. Not all restaurants are created equal, and some are much more conducive to healthy eating than others. Look for restaurants that offer fresh and whole foods. Consider trying a restaurant that specializes in healthy cuisines, such as a farm-to-table restaurant or a vegetarian restaurant. These types of restaurants are more likely to offer dishes that are high in nutrient density and low in calories. When choosing a restaurant, also consider the atmosphere and vibe of the establishment. If the restaurant is known for its heavy, rich dishes, it may be more difficult to make healthy choices. On the other hand, if the restaurant has a focus on healthy eating, it will be much easier to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
3. Check out the menu beforehand
One of the most effective strategies for eating out for weight loss is to plan ahead and decide what you will order before you arrive at the restaurant. This can help you avoid impulsively ordering something that is high in calories or unhealthy. Take a look at the restaurant menu online and decide what you will order in advance.
Here are a few ways to look up nutrition information about restaurant menu items:
- Check the restaurant’s website: Many restaurants now list the nutritional information for their menu items on their website, including calories, fat, sodium, and other important information.
- Use a nutrition app: There are several nutrition apps, such as MyFitnessPal and Lose It!, that have extensive databases of restaurant menu items and their nutritional information.
- Check government websites: Some government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have databases of nutritional information for restaurant menu items.
- Contact the restaurant: If you can’t find the nutritional information you’re looking for, try contacting the restaurant directly. Many restaurants are happy to provide this information upon request.
By using these methods, you can easily access nutritional information about restaurant menu items and make informed decisions about what to order when eating out.
4. Be mindful of portion sizes
One of the biggest challenges when eating out for weight loss is portion control. Many restaurants serve large portions that are much bigger than a typical serving size, which can lead to overeating and consuming too many calories. To combat this, try to stick to smaller portions or share a meal with a friend. You can also ask your server to bring a to-go box with your meal so you can immediately portion out half of it to take home. Another strategy is to order an appetizer or side dish as your main course, which will typically be smaller portion size. And don’t be afraid to ask your server for a half-portion or to have your meal customized to your liking, such as asking for the sauce on the side or substituting a side dish with a salad. By controlling your portions when eating out, you can still enjoy a delicious meal while staying on track with your weight loss goals.
5. Opt for healthy choices
When eating out for weight loss, it’s important to pay attention to the preparation methods of your food. Many restaurants use high-fat cooking methods, such as frying, which can add a significant amount of calories to your meal. Look for dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed, which are typically lower in calories and fat. Additionally, ask your server about the ingredients and preparation methods of the dishes you’re considering, and don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. For example, you can ask for your protein to be cooked without added oil or for your dish to be prepared with less salt or butter. Another tip is to avoid dishes with creamy sauces or dressings and instead opt for dishes with tomato-based sauces or vinegar-based dressings. By being mindful of the preparation methods and ingredients in your food, you can make healthier choices when eating out and stay on track with your weight loss goals.
6. Avoid fried foods and heavy sauces
Alcoholic drinks can be a major source of hidden calories when eating out and can easily sabotage your weight loss efforts. Many cocktails and beers contain high amounts of sugar and empty calories, which can add up quickly. To reduce your calorie intake from drinks, consider ordering a glass of water or sparkling water with lemon or lime instead. If you do choose to have an alcoholic beverage, opt for lower-calorie options like a glass of wine or a light beer, and avoid sugary mixers like soda or fruit juice. It’s also important to remember to drink in moderation, as excessive alcohol consumption can lead to overeating and poor food choices. By being mindful of your alcohol intake when eating out, you can reduce your calorie intake and stay on track with your weight loss goals.
7. Say no to complimentary bread or chips
One way to stay on track with your weight loss goals when eating out is to plan ahead and make healthy choices before you even arrive at the restaurant. Look up the menu online beforehand and decide what you’ll order in advance. This can help you avoid making impulse decisions and ordering unhealthy options when you’re feeling hungry and tempted by the menu. Additionally, try to eat a healthy snack or meal before heading to the restaurant so you’re not ravenous when you arrive. This can help you make better choices and avoid overeating. Finally, consider bringing your own healthy snacks, such as a piece of fruit or a small bag of nuts, to munch on if you’re feeling hungry between meals. By planning ahead and being prepared, you can make healthier choices when eating out and stay on track with your weight loss goals.
8. Watch what you drink
When eating out for weight loss, it’s important to pay attention to the types of foods you’re consuming. Look for menu items that are high in protein and fiber, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer periods of time. Foods that are high in protein include lean meats, fish, and tofu, while fiber-rich options include vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Additionally, try to avoid foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, as well as those that are high in added sugars and refined carbohydrates. Instead, opt for nutrient-dense foods that provide a good balance of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, such as grilled chicken with vegetables or a salad with grilled shrimp. By choosing nutrient-dense foods when eating out, you can stay on track with your weight loss goals while still enjoying delicious and satisfying meals.
9. Don’t eat quickly
Another helpful tip for eating out for weight loss is to be mindful of your eating pace. Eating too quickly can lead to overeating and poor digestion, which can leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Instead, try to eat slowly and savor each bite of your meal. This can help you tune into your body’s hunger and fullness signals and prevent you from overeating. Additionally, taking breaks during your meal and engaging in conversation can help slow down your eating pace and promote mindful eating. Finally, be sure to listen to your body’s signals and stop eating when you’re full, even if there’s still food left on your plate. By slowing down your eating pace and listening to your body, you can make healthier choices when eating out and stay on track with your weight loss goals.
10. Meal Planning
Last but not least, one of the most important tips for eating out for weight loss is to practice moderation. It’s okay to indulge in your favorite foods or desserts every once in a while, but it’s important to do so in moderation. Consider sharing a dessert with a friend or ordering a smaller portion size to satisfy your cravings without overdoing it. Additionally, be mindful of portion sizes when ordering your meal, and consider taking leftovers home for later. Remember, eating out should be an enjoyable experience, but it’s important to stay mindful of your food choices and portion sizes to stay on track with your weight loss goals. By practicing moderation when eating out, you can still enjoy delicious meals while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Eating out doesn’t have to derail your weight loss goals. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can make healthy choices and still enjoy dining out. Remember to research the restaurant, check out the menu beforehand, be mindful of portion sizes, and opt for healthy choices. By following these tips, you can stay on track and reach your weight loss goals.