Find out how health experts navigate eating at restaurants.
When you’re trying to slim down and stick to a healthy eating plan, a restaurant visit can seem unnerving, threatening to derail your latest weight loss efforts. You don’t need to ditch restaurant meals until you’ve hit your goal weight, just learn how to prepare for these higher-calorie foods and the best ways to enjoy indulgences as part of your diet plan. Here, nutrition experts share the tips they practice when eating out. “Going out to dinner is part of everyday life,” says Miami-based Marina Chaparro, R.D.N., Clinical Dietitian & Certified Diabetes Educator, National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You shouldn’t be afraid of going out to dinner for fear of gaining weight. Learn how to order at a restaurant and plan ahead. The more you know about the restaurant or cuisine, the better choices you can make,” she adds.
Limit Alcoholic Drinks
“I think it’s important to establish a barrier where you say to yourself, ‘I'll have a couple drinks on Friday and Saturday night but I'm not drinking during the week,’” says Lisa Stollman, R.D.N., C.D.E., author of The Trim Traveler. “Just allow yourself one or two nights where you have one or two drinks,” she says. “Many people don’t realize how many calories are in these drinks, how big of a drink they pour, and because alcohol lowers your blood sugar, you could have a huge meal at a restaurant with a few glasses of wine, and then you get home and you're hungry again. Alcohol can really wreak havoc on your weight loss plan,” Stollman says. Drink water, sparkling water, or unsweetened iced tea instead, she suggests.