7 Tips for Dining Out on a Diet

Your friends want to gather after work at your favorite restaurant. You love the food there, but you’re afraid to go because you’re dieting.


Relax, enjoy and fill up with these seven tips that take the guesswork out of menu selection.


1. Sink your teeth into the 50/50 rule

It’s basic math. When you eat only half of your meal and take the leftovers home, you save half the calories. Restaurant portions tend to be on the larger side so you won’t feel cheated — and you’ll have another great meal for the next day!


2. Place your order a la carte

Ordering your meal piecemeal puts you in control. There’s little value in a value meal that includes fries and a soft drink.


3. Choose whole foods and fish or poultry

Pasta should be enjoyed as a small side dish, not a plate-covering main course. Skip foods that are breaded or battered. Can’t go without a sauce to whet your appetite? Opt for a salsa or relish.


4. Dive into soups or salads

Broth-based soups are good at filling you up without weighing you down. The same goes for salads — if you stick with mostly veggies. It’s when you load up your salad with bacon bits, croutons and creamy dressings that you derail your dieting efforts.


5. Who says an appetizer can’t be a meal?

You’ll usually save money and calories by ordering from the appetizer selections. But not all appetizers are created equal. Steer clear of the deep-fried stuff such as wings, cheese sticks and veggies. A breaded, deep-fried veggie is not a dieter’s friend.


6. Just say NO!

NO … you don’t want fries with that! NO … you don’t want butter and sour cream with your baked potato! NO … you don’t want bread and butter at your table!


7. Eat naked

Please keep your clothes on! What I mean by eating naked is simply enjoying your food without smothering it with or dipping it in a sauce or condiment. Dunking a fresh veggie into bleu cheese dressing is like dipping it in pure fat. And ketchup may be made from good-for-you tomatoes but it’s loaded with sugar.


And if you still need some additional help, we offer a Dining Out Guide with your Meal Plan Map subscription, so you’ll always have guidance (and confidence) when eating out!



Susan Burke March, MEd, RDN, CDE – Food, Nutrition, and Your Health columnist for www.CuencaHighLife.com


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