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4 Tips to Eat Healthier When Dining Out

Jul 1, 2008
One of the biggest ways that most people fail in their weight loss efforts is while dining out. It's no secret that most restaurants make it darn near impossible to eat healthy when eating out.

However, as a Certified Nutrition Specialist, I've come up with some easy substitutions that make it quite easy to eat healthier when eating out, and save hundreds of calories per meal, while still enjoying your favorite foods. The three things that you absolutely must avoid at every restaurant if you want to stand a chance of walking out of there without adding to your gut would be these:

1. the deep fried foods
2. the refined starchy foods
3. any sodas, juices, or other sugary foods (except whole fruits, which are great for you)

This eliminates the major food sources that do the most damage to your body - the trans fats, refined vegetable oils, refined starches, and processed sugars.

The best way to do this is to skip the fries or chips (or any deep fried foods) that come pretty much with every sandwich or burger on every menu known to man, and also skip the huge portions of rice, pasta, and breads that usually come with most dishes too. Instead, try to order just meat, side vegetables, and a salad, asking for the vegetables or salad as a substitute for the typical fries, rice, or pasta that the meal probably comes with.

Almost every restaurant I've ever been to will always allow me to substitute veggies or a side salad for the fries or chips that almost always come with sandwiches or burgers. I'm all for moderation with many things, but if there's 2 things that should be totally removed from everyone's diet because these foods are simply that evil... it's fries and sodas!

Take a look at the typical difference this simple substitution makes between choosing healthy and doing what most people do... Most people will eat a meal out such as this:

*Sandwich or burger
*fries or chips
*soda or other sweetened drink

A MUCH smarter alternative for a leaner, healthier body is very simply this:

*Sandwich or burger
*veggies or salad
*unsweetened iced tea or water (no diet drinks -- unless you like to drink poisonous chemicals that actually make you fatter).

These 2 simple substitutions save at least 400 - 900 calories EACH time you dine out (depending on how many drink refills you get and fries portion sizes)... AND you're cutting out the most harmful foods to your body as well by avoiding the hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and high fructose corn syrup from the soft drinks.

Let's say you eat out twice a week and by using these tips you save 500 calories each time you eat out. Well, that's 1000 calories per week saved, or about 52,000 calories saved per year. At approximately 3500 calories per pound, that could equate to 15 lbs lost in a year (with too many other factors to consider, but still shows you the potential).

Side note: a little-known way to eat full portions of rice, pasta, and breads and actually get away with it without packing on the body fat is to make sure to schedule a high intensity full body resistance training workout (weights or bodyweight exercises done at high intensity) before your scheduled meal time.

Sometimes it may be hard to fit the workout into your schedule right before the meal event, but if you can, the meal can be your "post-workout meal", in which case, your body can handle a higher amount of carbs than normal to help replenish the muscle glycogen depletion you had during the intense workout.

A cardio workout simply WON'T cut it for this... it must be high intensity resistance training to deplete enough muscle glycogen to handle restaurant portions of carbohydrates.

I hope these dining tips help you choose smarter and healthier next time you dine out. Cheers to a healthier you and better body!
About the Author
For an interesting exercise article, go to Does the Muscle Pump Matter in Exercise?

Also, check out this enlightening article about Motivation to Lose Weight

Another interesting article can be found here How to Stop Sugar Cravings
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