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5 Tips for Watching Calories at Restaurants

Updated on May 25, 2011

Watching calories while at a restaurant full of high calorie foods can seem close to impossible. Even though you may have a goal to fit back into last year’s jeans, you are only human and food can be a weakness. However, by keeping five tips in mind next time you’re at a restaurant you can cut your calorie intake dramatically.

Tip #1: Order water for your drink. Pop, tea, and coffee are high in caffeine and calories and should be avoided when trying to watch your calorie intake. If you do insist on having a drink with your meal, order unsweetened tea. Unsweetened tea is low in calories and you can sweeten it yourself using zero calorie artificial sweeteners.

Tip #2: Don’t just order anything for your meal. Be well educated on what is high in fat and bad for your health. Fried foods are extremely high in fat and cholesterol and should be avoided. Aim for foods that are baked or grilled such as lean chicken and make sure to order veggies for your sides.

Tip #3: Don’t order appetizers. Appetizers may sound like a good idea when your starving and don’t want to wait the twenty minutes for your food. However, appetizers are usually high in fat and can cause you to overeat. It you do insist on getting something before your meal, get a salad. This way, you have something low in calories to munch on before your meal. Watch the dressing though! Dressing can be high in calories if it not a low fat dressing. Order your salad dry, and if you wish, request a side of dressing. This way, you can put on the dressing yourself and use as little as possible.

Tip #4: Ask for a to-go box at the beginning of your meal. This will enforce the “out of sight, out of mind” philosophy. Put the majority of your meal into the box to take home with you, keeping only a small portion on your plate. This way you are cutting calories and saving yourself a nice lunch for the following day.

Tip #5: Don’t give in to the pictures of the dessert. Restaurants are cruel in that they take a wonderful picture of a dessert and flaunt it in front of you. Be strong and don’t give in! The cake will not help you succeed in your weight loss goals and is bad for your health. A trick that can be helpful is to keep some non-fat sherbet at home in the freezer for emergency sugar cravings. This way, you can say to yourself at the restaurant, “I don’t need that piece of cake because I have dessert waiting for me at home.”

Keep all five tips in mind next time you go out to eat to help keep your calorie intake low and still enjoy a nice meal. Now you can go with confidence on a date with your husband or your friends, knowing that you can conquer all of the restaurant temptations.

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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      Very sensible advice. You can still enjoy your meal if you choose carefully.