Guide to eating out - what to eat for weight loss
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
Top tips for weight loss!
Are you trying to lose or maintain your weight? If so, eating out can be the one area that is sabotaging your goals. The good news is you can navigate the danger zones, be social and eat what what you love – and have your cake and eat it!
When eating out always remember the portion plate guidelines – half your plate should be vegetables – yes HALF. Pack in the veggies if you can by ordering veg side dishes or replacing fries with salad, for example. ¼ of your plate should be protein (plant or animal) and complex carbs should only be ¼ of your plate (breads, pitas, rice, pasta etc.
Stop eating when you are just full
Just because it’s in front of you doesn’t mean you should eat it – ask the waiter to remove the leftovers for a doggie bag for tomorrow– if it is out of sight you won’t eat it.
They can be your best buddy or your worst enemy. Salad dressings can be very calorie and fat dense so always ask for the dressing on the side, so you can portion control how much goes on. You can also just ask for a drizzling of olive oil and lemon juice instead.
What to choose
Go for grilled, broiled, steamed, baked or raw dishes over deep fried, or fired dishes
Don't be afraid to ask
I do it all the time … remember you are a paying customer. Many times a dish can be manipulated to your liking. For example, have a double serving of vegetables instead of starches (fries, roasted potatoes, breads, rice etc.). Replace cheese with healthier fats like avocado or other veggies.
Avoid the bread basket!
A lot of snacking can actually occur before your meal actually evens arrives, such as the case with bread baskets and butter rolls. If you can’t exercise control, have you waiter remove them from the table.
Generally speaking try to reduce this wherever you can, the lowest calorie option is vodka lime soda, next is a gin and tonic. White wines can be mixed with a little sparkling water (called a ‘white wine spritzer’), to reduce the calories and alcohol content. Avoid beers and ciders.
Make a meal out of less
Certain appetizers, starters and side dishes can be healthier options and smaller portion sizes – for example bulk up a starter wih a side salad and veggies to fill you up more with fewer calories.
In Indian restaurants choose tomato based sauces not cream based sauces.
In Thai restaurants choose the stir-fries over the coconut cream based sauces. And avoid thick sweet and sour sauces in Chinese restaurants. Also, if you can, don’t have the side of rice in these restaurants (or if you do, only ½ cup! Which is 3 tablespoons).
In Italian restaurants choose: Vegetable or seafood antipasto, minestrone soup, fish or chicken dishes served with vegetables, grilled meats. Not: Deep-fried and breaded foods such as veal or eggplant parmesan, creamy sauces such as fettuccine Alfredo, dishes stuffed with cheese such as manicotti and calzones. Request extra veggies — and less pasta — in your pasta primavera. Don’t be afraid to ask, chefs are usually more than happy to accommodate.
In Japanese restaurants choose: Sushi made with shrimp, tuna, tofu, or vegetables, sashimi, miso soup, teppanyaki dishes (meat, fish, or vegetables cooked on an iron griddle). Not: Tempura, large platters of sushi rolls (each can be 250 calories or more, and you can easily eat two or three), teriyaki (the sauce can contain a lot of sugar).
In Mexican restaurants choose: Fajitas made with grilled meats and vegetables, burritos or enchiladas filled with chicken, shrimp, or lean meat and a small amount of cheese. Not: Dishes smothered with cheese, fried chimichangas, refried beans, large bowls of tortilla chips (a few with salsa is fine), pitchers of margaritas (limit yourself to one for 170 calories).
You can always ask the waiter to remove the cheese or sour cream from a dish too to lower the calorie content. Or you can replace with a healthier fat such as avocado.
And voila! You have stuck to our weight loss goals and enjoyed eating out. Remember, weight loss isn’t about perfection and restrcition, it’s about educated and informed choices. You can still have your dessert or your glass of wine every now and then, and enjoy it – it’s good for the soul!
Interested in losing weight? Check out my weight loss programme here.