Don’t pass up a hot dinner date for fear it’ll derail your diet. Here are some simple ways to enjoy a great meal out while keeping calories in check:
Scope out the menu online and zero in on lighter choices. You’ll sit down knowing what to order instead of ordering on a whim.
Place your order first
It’s easy to go with the crowd when everyone’s ordering a big meal. Put your lighter meal order in first and you won’t be tempted.
Words of Warning
Watch for cues that a dish is high in calories, such as creamy, fried, breaded, and barbecued. Look for lighter items billed as grilled, steamed, poached and broiled.
Have an appetizer
Skip the breadbasket and start with a leafy salad or broth-based soup. You won’t be as hungry when your meal arrives and probably eat less of it.
Restaurant portions can be double, even triple size. Let your eyes gauge a single portion: A serving of meat fits into the palm of your hand and a portion of pasta is about the size of your fist.
Have it your way
If your dish comes with a high-calorie side like French fries, swap for something light and delicious like an order of grilled vegetables. Automatically eat less of a rich fatty sauce or salad dressing by ordering it served on the side.
Wine and spirits have about 90 calories per drink, while a sugary mixed cocktail can have four times as much. Switch from 90-calorie tonic to a low-cal mixer, such as diet soda, club soda or a splash of juice.
Indulge in any sweet you like by keeping to the three-bite rule. Take your time and savor each mouthful; slowing down makes even a little dessert will seem like a lot.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.