How to make dining out less of a dilemma before you go:
- Ask yourself: Are you going out “just because” or is this for a special occasion? Be honest with yourself in terms of whether you should be careful about what you eat or whether it’s ok to indulge.
- Many restaurants post their menus, if not the nutritional information, on their website. While most people use this to see if the food is within their price range, you can use the menu to see if there are healthy choices available and give yourself a few choices before heading out.
- Have a small snack before you go out to curb your hunger and keep you from overeating.
At the restaurant
Read the menu carefully for healthier choices:
Less Healthy Choices
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask your server how dishes are prepared if it doesn’t tell you on the menu. Ask if you can get half-orders of a dish. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. Ask if you can have an extra side of vegetables.
- Don’t drink your calories! Remember that a 5 oz. glass of wine contains between 100-150 calories, while a pint of beer can contain as much as 200 calories! The alcohol and sugar in cocktails can really add up – a 4.5 oz pina colada has about 245 calories.
- Because portion sizes and restaurants tend to be huge, ordering just a couple of appetizers can make a substantial meal!
- Split a main dish and/or dessert with your dining companions so you can both indulge!
- Don’t feel pressured to be part of the “Clean Plate Club”! You can always take extra food home for a quick lunch the next day. If it helps, ask for a takeout box or an extra plate at the beginning of the meal and portion out a reasonable amount before you start eating.
- Eat slowly and mindfully and enjoy your company. This will give your body time to signal that you are full and stop you from overeating.