One of the biggest challenges dieters face is eating at a restaurant. If you’re on a diet with a fixed daily menu, it’s impossible. It’s one of the reasons I gave up doing the Extreme Fat Smash Diet. However, for those of you on more flexible weight loss plans like Weight Watchers, dining out is easier but not without its risks.
All the diets I’ve been on give you tips for how to eat at a restaurant. You know, things like “order the grilled fish with no sauce” or a “get a salad with dressing on the side.” We all know how to follow those strategies. Instead, how about trying a new one:
Plan your restaurant meal before you leave the house
1. Choose the restaurant in advance and make reservations. No restaurants with a buffet or a mascot like Chuck E. Cheese. (Yuck!) Instead, pick a restaurant with a varied menu, so you can find something healthy to eat. Your best bets are seafood restaurants that grill (not fry) their fish, Japanese places for low-cal/high protein sashimi and miso soup, or one with an extensive salad bar. Also, when you make a reservation, your table is ready when you arrive (hopefully) so you don’t spend time drinking and snacking in the bar.
2. Plan out your food budget before you go. Calculate how many Weight Watchers POINTS or calories you can use during the meal. Then stick with it!
3. Don’t leave the house famished. Have a light snack, like a piece of high fiber fruit or something with protein in it (nuts or a glass of skim milk) an hour before your reservation. Make sure you’ve had a few glasses of water or a cup of tea (bring a to go cup in the car) before you leave, too.
4. Get your exercise in earlier that day. If you can manage it, exercise then immediately go out to eat.
(Shower first and change your clothes, please!) That way your metabolism will be revved up and you’ll be burning calories at a faster rate while you dine.
5. Go to the restaurant’s website to plan what you’re going to order. Or have them fax you a menu. Write down what you’re going to order and any questions you have for the wait person. (Can I get it with brown rice? Instead of the potato, can I get some steamed veggies?) When you arrive, tell the hostess that you don’t need a menu since you already know what you want to order. That way you won’t be tempted to sabotage your plan.
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