6 Nutritionist Approved Hacks for Eating Out While Dieting
Don’t let the menu scare you!
As the summer comes into full swing and everyone want to be on the water dining out, or even just out in general, there’s that big question everyone wants answered, “how do you eat out without ruining your week of busting your butt?!” Let me tell you, it’s definitely not easy. There’s a million different options in front of you, and most of them are full of high fatty sauces or deep fried yumminess. BUT you need to focus on your goal, focus on the fact that you did bust your butt all week and you don’t want to ruin it over a few meals. When it seems like only high fatty foods are jumping out at you, and your friends are all talking about the dessert they’re going to get, it may be a challenge to choose a healthier option. However, it can be done, and you CAN do it.
I used to be a waitress, and I never get annoyed when people ask me questions about the menu (like what type of oil cooking with, what sides come with it). Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! If it comes with French fries, chances are that’s not the only side they have. Most places will have fruit or a side salad available, maybe for an extra cost (but it’ll be worth it). Remember foods that are prepared “in-house” use limited processed ingredients which normally reduce the sodium and sugar of your meal. Next time you’re out ask what your food is being cooked in and what sides they have! It’ll save your waistline.
Menus can be overwhelming and super large (kind of like the portions they serve). By looking at the menu ahead of time you’re more likely to choose a healthier option. Take a glance at the menu online beforehand if possible, and decide what you’re getting then so you don’t impulse order those Buffalo wings.
Most restaurants are pretty good with making adjustments based on your dietary needs. Stick to plain foods and stray away from anything fried, anything with a heavy cream or butter sauce, and heavy cheese dishes. If getting a salad, remember to get the dressing on the side and stick to using about a tablespoon (there’s about 5-7 grams of fat in one tablespoon), and don’t load your salad with unhealthy contents such as fried chicken and cheese.
Grilled or baked fish/steak/chicken (with no crazy sauces)
Sweet potato/ brown rice/ quinoa
The portions at most restaurants are about double of what you should actually eat. If you pack half your meal in a to-go box right away you’ll save yourself from overeating. Plus, you’ll save some money because you’ll already have lunch for tomorrow.
Ordering two appetizers for your dinner is a great way to keep the portions and fat low. Look for a good variety of seafood, vegetable, or steak based appetizers that aren’t loaded with unnecessary fat. Or order an appetizer and a side salad with grilled chicken. Keep the protein high and the fat low for overall eating out success.
6. Watch out for hidden sources of fat
Almost all your protein sources when dining out are cooked and smothered with oils. Even though some oils have other health benefits, 1 gram of fat still equals 9 calores. Just one tablespoon of olive oil can have 120 calories all from fat. So ask your server if they can prepare your food with light or no oil to save yourself a bunch of calories.
If you would like to work with one our nutritionists contact us through our website or call 732-462-LEAN(5326)
Written by: Brianna Crosby, BS Nutrition and Dietetics