Smart Strategies for Dining Out

smart-strategiesIt’s well known that we eat more calories when we dine out at restaurants than we would eating at home.  But, you don’t have to completely avoid restaurants when trying to manage your weight.  Here are some smart strategies to help control your calories.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Have your server put high-fat condiments like salad dressing and mayonnaise on the side so you can control how much gets put on your meal.  Ask to substitute high-calorie side items like French fries for salad or steamed vegetables.
  2. Take half your meal home. Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal comes to the table.  Put half of it away before you are finished eating.  Now you have two (or three) meals in one!
  3. Pass the bread. Save your calories for your main course!  Put the bread/chip basket on the other side of the table to resist temptation.   Better yet, ask your server to not bring it to your table at all.
  4. Fill up on low-calorie foods. Order a side salad (with light dressing) or a broth-based soup to help fill up your stomach when you are really hungry.  This will help you eat slower and eat less when your main course arrives.
  5. Go for an after dinner stroll. If you feel like you have eaten too much, it’s tempting to lie down.  This may actually make you feel more uncomfortable.  Instead, try going for a light 10-15 minute walk.  This will aid in digestion and help push food out of your stomach.

Meagan Mohammadione, RD/LD Emory Bariatric Center

What else? Any other tips you have to add to this list? If so, please share them with us and our readers using the comments below!

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  • Brandi E.

    I like this article because it makes me think that’s OK to ask to take half aof my diner home and to just ask for my food a certain way. I think most restaurants will be ok with me asking for specif things on my plate. Good ideas.

  • Loria G.

    Great article , I really liked all the suggestions you offer. Thanks