Weight loss, and even weight management, comes from eating a calorie goal. To maintain weight, your calories in have to match your energy expenditure. To lose weight, your calories in have to be less than your calories out. However, sticking to a low-calorie diet can be challenging when you dine out with friends and family, especially if you are in a hurry with somewhere to be, like a doctor appointment or hurrying to tee off on a private golf course. Read below for 5 ways to stay under your calorie goals when dining out.
Put Half of Your Food in a Box ASAP
Restaurant food is laden with calories. Even the salads can be suspect. So, get what you want, but split the portion in half as soon as you get your meal. Ask for a takeout box before you begin eating. When you cut your portions, you cut your calories, which allows you a better handle on your weight.
Drink a Glass of Water Beforehand
Before you eat, ask for a glass of ice water to drink before your meal arrives. This will fill your belly, giving you the illusion of fullness without the excess calories. Additionally, your body takes longer to heat and disperse ice water, so you will stay fuller for longer.
Skip the Bread Basket…Or Have Just One
Bread baskets and free appetizers, like chips and salsa, are the banes of your existence when you are actively counting calories. Instead of calling it an indulgence and munching away on whatever you please, skip the bread basket. Or, better yet, just have one. If you are the kind of dieter to spiral, where one becomes two and so on, tell your waiter to avoid the bread basket altogether.
Log Your Calories First
Preparation is the surefire way to success. Before you eat for the day, log your calories first and plan your meals. If you know that you will be dining out that day, eat light for your other meals and save up your calories for the restaurant experience. This gives you an outlet to indulge without the guilt of too many calories.
Plan with a PDF Menu of Restaurant Nutrition
Search engines are great little tools because you can plug in whatever restaurant you want and their menus and nutrition facts will pop up. Download a PDF menu, look at estimated calories for each dish, and plan your meal accordingly.
You CAN accomplish a calorie goal when you dine out, but it might take some planning and discipline on your part. You can rest assured that staying under your calorie goal, even while dining out, will get easier over time.