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How to Eat out on a Diet

Eating out can be difficult when you are trying to lose weight as it is often hard to know what the best meal options are. For this reason I am going to run you through a few key words to look out for when reading a menu as well give you some great hints and tips on what to avoid when eating out. These helpful ideas will allow you to enjoy yourself when you go out for dinner because they will show you what you can choose without feeling guilty.

Key Words to look out for

Key healthy words to look out for on a menu are words like roasted, poached, grilled, steamed, baked, broiled and boiled. These words mean that the meal is more likely to be low in calories and relatively healthy. Meals with these words in the description are the ones to choose! Look out for descriptive words such as loin or flank as these words indicate that lean meat is being used and therefore will be better for you. There are also some high-fat “buzz” words to look out for too. Words like cream sauce, butter, oil, au gratin, alfredo, battered, “with gravy” or “smothered” indicate that the dishes will be high in calories and are best avoided when trying to lose weight. It is best to pass on pasta and risotto dishes as well, as these dishes are high in carbohydrates and will be hard to burn off.

Hints & Tips for Eating Out

  1. If you know that you are heading out for dinner it is a good idea to prepare yourself for the occasion, this way you can ensure that you will enjoy the experience rather than feel guilty afterwards. Prepare for your dinner during the day by eating small regular meals throughout the day, therefore you will not be starving when you arrive at the restaurant. Starving yourself to ‘make more room’ means that you are less likely to make the best meal choices and more likely to over eat. So arrive at the restaurant hungry, but not ready to eat a horse!
  2. Drink plenty of water before your meal and throughout the night as this will help to satisfy your appetite.
  3. Avoid ordering bread, chips or wedges before the meal as these sides are the enemy to weight loss. Plus they will fill you up so you will not be hungry (and excited) for your main meal.
  4. Modify the menu to suit you, for restaurants are usually happy to oblige with requests. Ask the chef to hold the dressing on salads or the butter and salt on steamed vegetables. You may also be able to have the ‘Fish of the Day’ grilled rather than battered and order salad instead of chips, etc.
  5. If you plan on having more than one course then order both courses as entrée sizes. Doing this will mean you have smaller portions, consume fewer calories and you won’t find yourself unbearably full by the end of the night. If the entrée meals do not satisfy then order a side of salad or steamed vegetables to fill up on.
  6. If you find that you are full before you finish your meal do not despair! Do not feel like you are wasting your money by not finishing a meal; just ask for a take-home box. Most restaurants are happy to box your leftovers up so you can take them home for lunch the next day.
  7. Keep in mind that some restaurants are better than others when you are eating out trying to lose weight. Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai restaurants are great for low fat options in comparison to Mexican, Italian and Indian restaurants which generally cook with a lot of fat.

It is possible to eat out and enjoy it when you are trying to lose weight so don’t shy away from having a good night out. Keep these hints and tips in mind when eating out and always chose meals which contain healthy ‘buzz’ words on the menu. By doing this you can ensure that you won’t blow your weight loss program when you go out. However if you do let your hair down a bit then it enjoy it and then make sure you get back to your healthy eating program then very next day – for that truly is the secret to weight loss.


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