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How To Eat Out On A Diet

Updated on February 9, 2016

Why Go Out To Eat On A Diet?

We've all heard someone say to us: Why go out to eat if you're dieting? You won't be able to eat anything anyway, right?

Not exactly. If you make smart choices ahead of time, you will be able to feel confident in yourself and stay on track while still enjoying time out with your friends and family.

There are many healthy choices available at restaurants available that you can make without feeling like a dud.


Snack Before You Go Out

It may sound counteractive to having a healthy meal, but snacking before you eat may be the first step to staying on track at a restaurant. By having a small, rounded snack (veggies, fat, protein) and perhaps a glass of water before your dinner date, you will be less tempted to pig out on appetizers, bread, and your entree.

Try a few pieces of grilled chicken and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil, and wrapped up in a piece of romaine lettuce. This will provide your stomach with some sustenance and will help you swat down your craving for those loaded nachos.


Pick Lightly

Yes, you can have a bite of the passed apps. No, it won't hurt you. Sometimes staying away from the foods we love completely can even sabotage your diet because it makes you feel left out and just craving it and craving it. This can lead to overeating when you get home and it's just bad! Also, remember - you are out to eat with other people. Don't be that guy or girl who analyzes the appetizer menu and gets upset when someone wants something "not on your diet."

Pick lightly at appetizers you and your friends or family order, just do not go overboard (cue the satisfaction from the pre-dinner snack). This will help you to feel included in the group gathering. It will also save you from explaining that you're making different dietary choices than everyone else at the table (some people feel embarrassed or bashful about this...really!)

Instead of using the huge serving spoon put out with the apps, try using your fork to help yourself. Place a small forkful of each app on your plate and move on. And skip the bread if you can! It's just bread!

Unless you are eating out every night, this is the least of your worries. Enjoy the time with family and friends and be happy!


Ask Questions

...but don't ask too many. Even though it is the server's job to accommodate customers to the best of his or her ability, they are not magicians. You might want to avoid asking if there's coconut oil in the kitchen and if there is, can they sautee your veggies in just a tablespoon's worth? With a sprinkle of sea salt, not kosher? That's just insanity. If you do want to ask these questions then you are the exception to my article - take it from a previous server: do not go out.

Ask if there are more veggies available than on the menu. The restaurant might have a special going on that night. Ask if you can have just plain asparagus without the hollandaise sauce. These are much more feasible questions and can be handled quickly and pleasantly without much confusion at all.


Cherish The Opportunity

Take advantage of ordering things you wouldn't regularly order when going out. Saturday night, I went out to dinner with my husband and in-laws. We dined at an upscale seafood restaurant.

I wasn't too nervous about finding menu choices because I knew that there were more things I'd be happier with than not (we have eaten here many times before). As I scanned the menu, a few things crossed my mind. One in particular was the "Land and Two Seas" dish. I actually got really excited - I never order something like that because it seems like such a manly platter, something loaded with food. However, it would have been a PERFECT Paleo "like" choice for me - one rare filet with a jumbo grilled shrimp, large sea scallop, served with a side of mixed vegetables and portabello mushrooms. Now, who is going to make fun of you for that?

Even though it sounded so delectable I chose not to get it. This is only because something else caught my attention - the rare tuna sashimi platter. I was really craving fish, so I ended up getting that with my mixed veggies and mushrooms (instead of the side of rice). I can honestly say that I was more than satisfied and my meal was absolutely delicious.

Do you see my point though? Thinking outside the box actually allows you to step outside of your comfort zone. Take the opportunity and run with it.


Unless you are eating out every night, this is the least of your worries. Enjoy the time with family and friends and be happy!

In keeping up with my observations, one slight point I am willing to make is that I had no hangover Sunday morning. Not that I'm a raging alcoholic or anything, but I did have a few martini's on the couch after dinner. Weird coincidence or Paleo induced??



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