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.
Research the Menu Ahead of Time
If you know you’ll be tempted by the extensive options once you arrive, look up the menu ahead of time and decide on a healthy dish you’ll order. “We live in an amazing time when you can go on any website and find out about allergens, nutrition, and portion sizes,” says Delbridge. “Restaurants are giving out that information now because people request it.” He suggests deciding what you’ll get ahead of time and asking someone to hold you accountable to that. Perhaps tell your partner, “I'm planning on getting this dish and I’m really trying to stick to my diet. If you see me drinking too much or ordering something else, can you please remind me?”