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Mastering the Art of Eating Out on a Diet

Jun 10, 2008
You've prepared yourself to lose weight by choosing the right diet and clearing your kitchen pantry of all of your forbidden foods. You've learned how to cook meals that will help you lose weight and you've stocked up on approved snacks. But then, you face the dieter's dreaded test: eating out without breaking your eating plan. Here are five things that you can do to stay on your program and enjoy your meal out.

1. Before you head out to eat, you need to do some planning. Choose a cuisine that will give you a lot of acceptable options. For example, if you're on a low carbohydrate diet, going to an Italian restaurant may give you too many temptations. Similarly, a fried chicken restaurant would be a poor choice if you're following a low calorie, low fat diet. Set yourself up for success by choosing a restaurant that has a lot of options that you can try. At the very minimum, make sure the restaurant has a salad bar that you can eat from.

2. Try filling up on good food before you leave the house. If you arrive at the restaurant totally starved, you're going to order an appetizer or choose an entree that is bad for you. Eat a small bowl of soup or a salad before you arrive so you'll be able to make wise choices that are based on your diet and not on your stomach.

3. If you have a choice of side dishes, make sure to go with steamed vegetables, salad or a vegetable soup. Filling up on vegetables, which are recommended on almost every diet, is a good way to avoid eating too much of other foods that aren't as good for you. Eating that many vegetables will help you feel like you're eating more than you actually are. Also, make sure your salad is diet friendly. Avoid heavy dressings, nuts and seeds if you are on a low fat diet. Low carb dieters should avoid the heavy dressings as well, and skip the croutons.

4. Make sure to ask your server about how your food is cooked. The words sauteed and deep-fried in the description are codes for extra fat. Ask for meat to be grilled or braised to avoid extra fat. Once your meal arrives, make sure that you portion out a third to a half of your meal. If you want, you can ask your waiter for a "to go" bag right away so you can save part of your meal for later. Restaurants are notorious for serving two to three times as much food as you should be eating. If you avoid cleaning your plate, you'll be able to stick to your diet.

5. The most important thing to remember is that a meal out at a restaurant isn't going to stop your weight loss journey. Make the best choices that you can but remember that it's just one meal out of dozens that will help you to lose weight. Don't turn a meal at a restaurant into an excuse to fall off of your diet. Follow these steps and you'll be able to stick to your diet and enjoy eating out.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com, where you'll find reviews and coupons for popular online diet plans, including Diet to Go . You can also see her online diet recommendation.
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