When dieting or trying to stick to a certain amount of calories one thing people often do is stop going out to eat. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to stop going out to eat to hit your calorie goals. Just follow these 12 tips, and you’ll be on your way to cutting calories and hitting your goals.
1. If you’re eating at dinner time, ask for the lunch portion (if available) to instantly cut your calories and save yourself some money too!
2. When you order your meal ask the server for a to-go container so you can immediately box up a portion of your food when it arrives at the table.
3. When ordering ask for your food to be grilled or baked instead of sautéed or fried to cut back on the fat that is added to your meal in the cooking process.
4. When ordering a meal that has salad dressing, sauces, or gravies, ask for them to come on the side so you have control over how many calories you add to the dish.
5. When ordering vegetables, ask how they are cooked. You might think ordering vegetables is the best option, but your veggies may be cooked in butter or oil, adding a possible 100+ calories to your side dish.
6. Opt for meat that isn’t breaded. You’ll still get a great flavored dish with fewer calories.
7. Split a meal with a friend or spouse. Eating out can be a great social event. Don’t be afraid to ask your server to split the dish between two plates for easier sharing.
8. Order double vegetables instead of a vegetable and a starch (such as pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, corn, or peas). Non-starchy vegetables are higher in fiber and lower in calories than starches, and substituting for double veggies is an easy way to slash calories (but don’t forget to ask how they are cooked!)
9. Don’t drink your calories. Opt for water instead of calorie-dense drinks like soda or sweet tea. If you are going to drink alcohol, avoid drinks like daiquiris and those that use pre-made mixes that are full of added sugar.
10. If you know you are going to a restaurant that typically serves bread before the entrées arrive, ask the server if they can skip bringing the bread to your table so you’re not tempted to eat it.
11. Choose leaner cuts of meat (white meat instead of dark meat, sirloin instead of ribeyes, etc).
12. Choose vegetarian/vegan dishes when available. Vegetarian/vegan dishes will most likely have vegetables and beans as their main components, which are high in fiber and pack a bunch of protein too. This way you won’t have to worry about the extra fat from the meat or having to ask for a leaner cut of meat.
There you have it! Now there’s no reason not to go out to eat because you fear going over your allotted calories. Just follow my tips for an enjoyable and reduced-calorie meal experience.