Dining out without pigging out

Dining out without pigging out

Apr 10, 2013

Most people think that going out to eat will automatically sabotage their diet. Wrong! Even though you don’t know exactly what is going into the meal you can use your healthy reasoning to determine the lesser of the evils on the menu. You can also make alterations to your order, yes that right, and be that person. But so what, if you’re among friends they won’t mind you trying to be healthy and the waiter or waitress you will probably never see again. Here are some healthy tips to be able to dine out while staying on the road to health and wellbeing.

Rule number 1. Stay away from the freebies

Whether the restaurant puts out complimentary tortillas and salsa, wanton fritters and duck sauce or bread butter, stay away! Most likely that is not the main attraction or why you came in the first place. Therefore, it is not worthy of the calories. Yet, if the restaurant puts out some world-class focaccia and you just can’t resist then no appetizer. So think about what you want most when you sit down.

Rule number 2. If it is deep fried it is out of the question.

When food is deep fried it absorbs calories from the oil or fat it is cooked in resulting in two to three times more calories than if that food were baked, steamed, poached, grilled, or sautéed. This is because fat packs twice the amount of calories per gram than its fellow macronutrients protein and carbohydrate. And, the longer the food cooks in the deep fryer the more calories from fat it absorbs. Also, when food is deep fried it is usually battered, resulting in additional empty calories (empty calories are calories that provide zero nutrition).

Rule number 3. Avoid cream sauces.

Cream sauces are usually made of heavy cream, butter and cheese; three extremely high fat and high calories foods. Just a quarter cup of heavy cream has over 200 calories, a quarter cup of cheese has about the same and just one tablespoon of butter has about 100calories. Therefore, an Alfredo pasta dish can easily have more than 400calories in just the sauce alone.

Rule number 4. Salads aren’t always the safe choice.

Just because you order a salad doesn’t guarantee a light and healthy meal. Firstly, there are lots of hidden calories in the dressing. Rule of thumb, if you can’t see through it stay away. Thick creamy dressings are usually very high in calorie and a lot of the time restaurants will over dress the salad. Therefore, your best bet is to get a see through vinaigrette and have it on the side. Furthermore, croutons, bacon, cheese, avocado and nuts are common but high calorie accompaniments to many salads. If there are more than two high calorie accompaniments cut the others out. Perhaps omit the croutons, bacon and nuts and leave the rest that way it is still filling and enjoyable and between 200-300 less.

Rule number 5. Chicken or fish.

As you most likely already know, white fish and the white meat of poultry are both healthier and lighter than red meat or pork. However, how it is prepared is most important. Try to avoid meat that is breaded, this adds extra calories and carbs without any extra nutrition. Also, ask how the meat is cooked. A pan fry or shallow fry is not too bad however, grilled, broiled, baked, poached or steamed is better to ensure the dish is lower in calorie.

Rule number 6. Share dessert or skip it.

Sharing dessert gives you a taste a cuts the calories of that dessert in half! Then again, if you are really trying to behave then skip it entirely. However, if everyone else at the table is getting something and you know you will be envious when their decadent treats arrive then order a hot drink; but not hot chocolate that defeats the purpose.

Rule number 7. Don’t arrive starving!

This is probably the most important rule of all! If you fast all day you will definitely overeat at the restaurant. Additionally, you will be so famished that you won’t be able to enjoy all the insightful table chitchat prior to the meal coming out. You will be like a distracted dog that’s gotten a whiff of bacon, constantly looking around to see if the next tray of food is coming towards your table. Just eat normally all day and get your workout in.

Now just a reminder, these rules are for if you are trying to be good. If you have been dieting and behaving for ages and need a little naughty night, then order the cream sauce and your own dessert. But if you are trying to stay on track these are your guidelines for dining out without pigging out!

Bon Appetite!


  1. Shirley /

    Great advice!

  2. Val /


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