Thursday, 19 May 2011

10 Tips for Eating Out While on a Diet

The prospect of going out to eat can strike fear into those who are dieting. After all, it can be hard saying no to delicious desserts when everyone else is tucking in. 

However, it is possible to enjoy your food without worrying about ruining your diet or gaining weight. By following these simple tips, you'll know exactly what you have to do to stay on track and not feel guilty at the end of meal.

1. Snack before going out

Eating a small, low calorie snack before going out to eat can take the edge off your hunger, making you less likely to arrive ravenous and ordering all the wrong foods. Something such as a low calorie cup of soup, a mug of low calorie hot chocolate or a banana can keep hunger pangs at bay, helping you resist ordering fattening and filling meals.

2. Listen to your stomach

This is particularly important when you’re eating out as you don’t have control of your portion sizes. Many restaurants tend to serve up portion sizes large enough for two. Therefore, eat your food slowly and be aware of when you are starting to feel full. Once this happens, this is the ideal time to put down your knife and fork. And if others are still eating, ask the waiter to take your plate away. This can help stop you from nibbling away at the remainder of your meal.

3. Beware of hidden calories

Avoid ordering any food that’s been fried, is coated in batter or has the word ‘cream’ in it. If you’re unsure of what's hiding in a menu item, don’t be afraid to ask the waiter what the ingredients are. Also it’s worth asking for something to be prepared a different way. For example, ask for your fish to be grilled rather than fried if possible.

4. Restrict your alcohol

If you’re drinking wine with your dinner, order it by the glass rather than the bottle as each glass of wine can clock up well over 100 calories. Try to make it last for your entire meal and drink plenty of water as well.

5. Say no to the bread basket

If the waiter brings a bread basket to your table, ask him or her to kindly remove it. This pre-dinner snack is really unnecessary. Do you normally eat bread before your meal at home? And if others at the table start complaining, get them to take what they want first.

6. Look for calorie counts on menus
More restaurants and fast food outlets are showing the number of calories on their menus. This includes places such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, Itsu and McDonalds (you may need to ask to see the menu!)

7. Don’t deprive yourself

You go out to eat to enjoy yourself, not feel deprived. So if you’re counting calories or weight watching, try allocating one course to healthy eating and then splurge out (a bit) on another course. Maybe have some grilled fish and vegetables or salad, followed by a slightly more decadent dessert. Be careful with desserts such as cheesecake as a tiny slice can be worth an entire meal in calories.

8. Save up your calories

If you know in advance that you’re going out to eat and you think you'll be tempted to break your diet, try restricting your food intake for a few days beforehand so you have a few extra calories in hand.

9. Share a course

If the outlet you're dining at appears to be serving up supersized meals, consider sharing a meal with someone else at your table. You'll save calories as well as money.

10. Choose your restaurant 

If the restaurant hasn't been decided on yet, suggest an outlet that you're comfortable with and where you know they'll have low calorie options you can eat.

Eating out should be an enjoyable experience and it doesn’t have to ruin your diet. Try using these tips to help keep your diet on track.

© Diets and Calories 


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