By Zelda Buitendag
How often do you eat out? We often go out to celebrate birthdays or other special occasions at restaurants. Research show most people eat a third of their calories away from home. For dieters, restaurants can be a minefield of temptation. We often think of eating out as a special occasion and when that happens, our good diet habits go out the window. But it is possible to curb your calories when you eat in a restaurant and yet still enjoy the experience. Use these tips and strategies to make your dining event both healthy and enjoyable.
1. Check out the menu online
Looking at the menu online before you go to the restaurant if possible can help curb overeating. Look for entree choices that are based around a lean protein. Look for items that are boiled, grilled or roasted. Try to avoid foods that are breaded or fried. Consider ordering an appetizer as your entree to keep portion sizes in control and don’t even allow the waiter to put bread on the table. It’s just an invitation to overeat.
2. Seat yourself by a window.
Believe it or not, dining by a window may help you eat less. Research studies show that when diners eat in a dark booth, near a television or at a bar they are more likely to eat more calories. When they sit near a window, they are more likely to order a salad. Of course, there is no guarantee that you’ll make better choices by a window, but there is not harm in sitting there and the distractions outside might prevent you from mindlessly overeating.
3. Choose wine or dessert.
If you are the type of person who starts their dinner order with a wine or cocktail request, then this tip is for you. Decide in advance if you will enjoy wine or dessert with your dinner, but don’t have both. The calories in wine add up quickly because most wine glasses are bigger than a standard serving size. In addition, there is no nutritional value to the calories in alcohol. So to keep your meal healthy, choose just one indulgence, but not both.
4. Drink water instead of soda
It’s a better choice for your body when you consume the high sodium levels that you find in many fried foods.
5. Wear a fitted waistband or belt.
This sounds like an odd tip, but it works. Avoid baggy or loose clothing and wear a dress or slacks with a fitted waist. That way if you eat too much, the discomfort from your midsection will remind you to stop.
6. Avoid being hungry when you go out.
Avoid starving yourself prior to your special meal. You don’t want to arrive at the restaurant famished. If you are very hungry chances are you may eat more than you planned. Have a small snack / fruit before you go out. This will help you stay within the limits with your order.
Remember, if you are serious about changing your eating habits and losing weight, then you need to be mindful of all of your food choices – both in and out of the home. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life’s special moments. Make your own plan to eat less in restaurants, so that you can continue to enjoy your social life and relax while you slim down
This article was written by the SureSlim Psychologist, Zelda.