How to Cut Calories When Dining Out
For those who are watching their weight, it can be really hard to cut calories when dining out. You can’t control what ends up on your plate and most importantly, you don’t know exactly how much fat is in your food. Stop stressing when you dine out. Here are our tips to help you keep your calorie intake in check.
1 | LOOK AT THE MENU BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO EAT
If you’ve got time before you go out to eat, look through the menu online. This will give enough time to figure out which dishes are best for your eating habits and are the most balanced. But if you don’t have time to do so, try calling the restaurant in advance to see if they can tweak how they prepare their dishes depending on your eating habits.
Most restaurants don’t have any problems changing what goes into the dish if a customer is allergic to certain ingredients or has specific dietary needs. The most important thing is to let them know in advance so that the chef has time to prepare your order accordingly.
2 | JUST SAY NO TO THE BREAD BASKET
3 | CHOOSE YOUR DISH DEPENDING ON HOW IT’S COOKED
When dining out, avoid anything that’s fried or cooked in a pan. Your plate shouldn’t include anything that’s “stir-fried,” “breaded” or “fried”. Instead, try foods that are grilled, steamed or raw. These foods are typically cooked using healthier methods and without added oil or butter, so they’re low in saturated fat. Of course, there are always exceptions, so read the dish’s entire description. Is it topped with cheese or smothered in a cream sauce? Then just say no.
In a nutshell, remember that you can always ask them to hold the fat or sauce.
4 | SHARE YOUR FOOD
Why not split your meal? Restaurant portions are usually pretty generous, so make the most of them by splitting your appetizer with whoever’s with you. You can enjoy more of your dining experience for less money. When the main dish arrives, you won’t feel like you have to finish that huge appetizer. You also don’t have to worry that the plate is only half-eaten or that the rest of it will be thrown away. Instead, just ask for a doggy bag to take your leftovers home. Tomorrow, you’ll love having something in your fridge that’s ready to eat.
To avoid a stomach ache by the time you’re done eating, you can also have one or two appetizers as a main dish. Ask the server how big they are to help you decide. Sometimes appetizers are so generous that a main dish would just be too much.
5 | WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK
Reducing your calorie intake is easy when you avoid soda, cocktails, wine and any other kind of alcoholic beverage. You should also cut beer from your drinking habits, especially if you’ve just finished a workout, because it doesn’t do anything to help you recover. In fact, it’s low in sodium, which is actually essential for healthy recovery because it thins out your blood and helps your body get rid of waste. As a diuretic, beer boosts your body’s urine production. Instead, you should be rehydrating after exercise.
If you don’t want to say “cheers” with a glass of water, go for pure tomato juice (20.8 calories per 100 ml) or carrot juice (26.6 calories per 100 ml). According to Anthony Berthou, FizzUp’s expert specializing in sports nutrition, 100% pure juices are nothing like fruit-flavored beverages, which contain added sugar and artificial colors and flavors. In any case, according to an article published by the Harvard Gazette in 2013, eating whole fruits, instead of drinking fruit juice, is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabètes.
6 | ASK FOR ALTERNATIVES
To cut calories when dining out, don’t be afraid to ask for one of the high-calorie ingredients to be replaced. If you haven’t had time to call the restaurant in advance, just ask if they can serve the sauce or vinaigrette on the side.
Having less oil or butter in your food and a serving of vegetables instead of pasta or rice are excellent tips to help you reduce the number of calories. Just remember to keep your requests simple so that they don’t require too much effort in the kitchen.
7 | HAVE A LIGHT DESSERT
“Can I have a dessert?” Of course you can! Just because you want to cut calories when dining out doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. There’s nothing wrong with having some dessert, but if you tried the tips listed above, that doesn’t mean you can gobble down a big piece of chocolate cake or tiramisu. Have a fresh fruit, some fruit salad, a smoothie or a scoop of sorbet. That way, you can finish your meal on the sweet note you were craving and still eat healthy while cutting calories.
As you can see, now dining out can be easy. If you try these tips, you won’t have to worry about the number you see on the scale the next day. For more tips on how to watch your weight, check out our article on 9 tricks for easier weight loss.