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How To Eat Out When You Are On A Diet

Updated on May 5, 2013
choosing the healthy option...
choosing the healthy option...

Deciding To Diet...

It is never easy to make the decision to lose weight on a diet. It takes a lot of will power, education and planning. You look at your lifestyle and think about what diet will suit you best. We all know that eating low fat, low sugar food is the way forward, but you are not always in the situation where you have full control over what you can and cannot have. If you are out it is hard to choose what to eat, especially on a diet.

With our busy lives and need to socialize, food will be a convenience or a treat. When you are having a large family get together or an evening with friends, food will more often than not be the main event. When entertaining guests you need to offer a nice dinner or go out to a restaurant for a full three course meal. With drinks on top.

It may not be a regular occurrence but when you are supposed to be sticking to your strict diet regime, all this can make it impossible.

Planning Goes Out Of The Window

It is hard enough to choose the right food when you have full control. Making a list before food shopping can prevent you from loading your trolley with snacks and pizzas. Ensuring you buy all you fruit and veg, high fiber pasta and rice and healthy snacks like bread sticks will help you through the week. When you are cooking for yourself. But when you have to go out for a meal, what do you choose to eat?

Never restrict yourself when on a weight loss plan, as you will crave for what you can't have. At the same time, do not binge eat as a 'one off treat'. You will only feel guilty and have to work twice as hard on your diet the following day.

Let your friends and family know that you are watching the calories. Do it subtly if you feel embarrassed. It isn't easy to highlight the fact that you are conscious of your wobbly thighs. Some people may even think you do not need to diet and mock you for eating 'rabbit food'. But stick to your guns and laugh it off if need be. Most people will offer you support when they realize you are serious.

When you have the menu, choose something you will enjoy but won't be smothered with a high fat sauce. Speak to the waiter if you are not sure how the dish is served. Ask for more salad or vegetables on the side rather than potatoes or wedges.

Try to opt for a starter and a main course rather than the main and a dessert. Order a starter with salad or go for a light soup. Avoid high fat pate's or goats cheese, and skip the bread.

Alcohol Has Calories Too!

When you are out in the evening, you will naturally want to have a drink. The only way to avoid it (unless you are tee-total) is to drive. Order wine with your meal instead of beer which contains a lot of calories. Alternate you drink with carbonated spring water. This will fill you up as well as keep you hydrated. You will drink less throughout the night and even feel the need to eat less on your plate.

When Friends Are Doing The Cooking

The first thing you think about when you go out, no matter where it is, is your outfit. If you have a new pair of skinny jeans you want to fit into, or a nice dress that flatters, bear it in mind when you are eating. Even if you are just going to your neighbor's house for a meal, you still have a goal to aim for.

If you have good understanding mates, ask the host to go easy on the carbs when plating your meal up. The one thing you will want to avoid is sounding rude or appearing awkward. You will not be able to dictate what you will be eating and what goes into it, but asking for a smaller portion because you are watching your weight is a reasonable request.

It might be harder to get out of having dessert when the cook has slaved over a work of art, so ask for half a portion or share with another guest. As long as you are joining in and being sociable (not to mention actually enjoying the meal), no one should criticize.

Eating Out Doesn't Always Happen On A Friday Night

We often forget that we eat out when we are on the run. It might be while we are on a shopping spree, or it may be lunch time during work.

If your work colleagues tend to go out for lunch and you like to join them, think about the kind of food will benefit you. Try to avoid burger joints or big pub lunches. They are your waistline's worst enemy, and will only make you feel tired and sluggish when you head back to the office.

Go for a light bar snack, such as a soup and salad, or a sandwich on wholemeal bread. Having a tuna and salad filling will help your brain function for the rest of the afternoon, and you will be a little more energized than if you had a fry up. If your group of workmates opt for a pizza place for lunch, bear in mind most offer salads and pasta too.

Make A Packed Lunch

If you tend to do lunch alone at work, do your best to avoid the canteen. Greasy fries or sausage rolls may be quick and cheap, but will do you no good.

Plan your week ahead when you are at home. It will save you time and money in the long run, and make your diet easier. There is nothing worse than wondering around town trying to find something to eat which is diet friendly.

Pack yourself a healthy sandwich on brown bread and fill it with plenty of salad. Alternate each day with crackers and cottage cheese, a packet of soup to make in a mug or a jacket potato (baked in advanced and heated up in the office). Try and make your diet varied and interesting. If you like to snack, take some carrot sticks or a tub of grapes or raisins. This will stop you from hitting the vending machine for chocolate at elevenses.

Think Every Time You Are Out

We can't always plan our lives around food. That may not even be a bad thing either. After all, we don't want to become obsessed. It's just a different way of thinking though. If you are used to grabbing a cake or a pastry when you go to the shops, buy a tub of sushi instead. If you are hitting the Irish coffee's at your friend's house, limit it to one, or hold the cream.

All we need to do is break the habit, and I reckon it can be done.


Decide on your goal weight
Decide on your goal weight

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    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Good tip cavallo. Having coffee, a hot low calorie drink (green tea etc) or water is a good distraction - and often we confuse thirst for hunger.

      I shall check out your book as well. Thank you.

    • profile image

      cavallo 5 years ago

      Lol Emma. As you said it is what suits you. The best tip I can give to avoid temptation is grab a coffee. Try it next time. Then tell me what you think. Plenty other tips in my book.livingslim.webs.com

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hehe, did you notice in my hub I didn't mention exercise? ;)

      Everyone is individual and it's what suits them. To me the hardest part of dieting (or having control over what you're eating) is when someone else is doing the cooking. When you're out and about and feeling hungry it's so easy to grab a McDonald's - it's just finding ways around that.

    • cavallo profile image

      cavallo 5 years ago from Newmarket,UK

      Eat what you like,just control the volume. Exercise !? In the saddle you can tune many muscles, more than most people think. More without a saddle !!

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Exercise certainly burns off all the calories consumed, and improves metabolism. There are so many opportunities now to exercise too - it doesn't have to be a gym which is expensive and quite intimidating. We have the Wii fit plus which I use, and I also ditch the car and walk everywhere if I can.

      At Christmas I went to parties where food and drink were on offer and it was hard to avoid, but I kept it in moderation and when I could, I danced it off!

    • Andme26 profile image

      Andme26 5 years ago from Earth

      good tips but I still have my opinion on this ... eat what you like and exercise . unless is a medical thing

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Now that Christmas is coming, it is a good time to think about what to eat when we're out or at parties where there is food on offer - especially when we want to fit into a party outfit!

    • Cousin Fudd profile image

      RobertElias Ballard 5 years ago from From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina

      Excellent hub and most of the time I am not as conscious about dieting when we eat out. You have shown you can eat out and still watch those calories and fat intake, thanks for sharing.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I have often enjoyed myself on a night out in a restaurant, and even get carried away with the dessert menu! But I don't do that on a regular basis, and I make sure I am good the next day!

    • Isabel Melville profile image

      Isabel Melville 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Great ideas here, but I'm afraid when on a diet I just don't go out, else I give the diet up for the night.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Sane and sensible tips - thanks for this one!

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      That's a great idea - beats ordering from the children's menu!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Great tips. I wish every restaurant would offer a diet menu for people who're trying to lose weight. At Mimi's Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants, they have a special menu called "Just Enough," which offers regular dishes in smaller portions. I think that is awesome!

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      We've all made that mistake! Easy to put it on, difficult to get it back off again :)

    • johncimble profile image

      johncimble 5 years ago from Bangkok

      @MP50 lol that's so true :D

    • profile image

      MP50 5 years ago

      Remember this people, a moment on the "Lips" a lifetime on the "Hips".

      Kind Regards

      MP50.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Haha, I know so many people who struggle with diets. It's getting into the right frame of mind (I always think about fitting into my skinniest jeans before reaching for the cake). Best of luck to her :)

    • johncimble profile image

      johncimble 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Great hub! i will have to give this article for my girlfriend to read as she always want to diet but she can't stop eating lol

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you guys for your comments. It is so hard to try and plan your life when you are trying to watch your weight. Wanting to have a meal out, or joining in on lunch is restricting. But there are ways around having a life and enjoying yourself when you're dieting. I find that if I know I'm going for a meal in the evening, I have a light breakfast and lunch. Equally, if I have a big lunch, I'll just have a small dinner that night.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 5 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Nice, information that I'm sure many people seek.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I don't tell anyone if I am going on a diet, it seems to me they start coming out of the woodwork with hamburgers and candy bars! You have some very good ideas though.

    • anupma profile image

      Dr Anupma Srivastava 5 years ago from India

      Your all suggestions are really very helpful. And you know the most important thing, this hub inspires to follow it. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Great Hub! I voted it up, awesome, interesting and useful.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi Emma, sharing a dessert is a great idea! I always enjoy a little something sweet at the end of a special meal, but usually a full dessert is too much for me. Your hub is a very useful reminder for anyone watching their weight - voting up!

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Sounds interesting. I would read about CBT for sure, thank you.

    • Jeff Venables profile image

      Jeff Venables 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Great hub - you might want to check out The End of Overeating by David Kessler. He uses cognitive behavior therapy to help people rethink the way they eat.

    • Emma Harvey profile image
      Author

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thank you :) I think it can apply to a healthy lifestyle too. Plan the foods you will have when you are out, especially at work. Try not to head for fast food outlets because you are hungry!

    • itsmonkeyboy profile image

      itsmonkeyboy 5 years ago from London, UK

      Very good hub and well written. Some great advice many people could use, I'm quite thin but even I could use some of your tips when out and about!

    • chrisanto profile image

      chrisanto 5 years ago from Philippines

      a great reminder for those who are having diet. thanks for posting..