Just because you’re considering one of the many diets or weight loss programs available, that doesn’t mean you have to avoid eating out. It’s definitely possible to go to restaurants and parties without sabotaging your efforts or any results you’ve achieved to date. Try some of the healthy ideas below recommended by our centers for weight loss to keep your appetite and waistline in check without having to give up your social life.
Stick to water. Sugary sodas, juices and cocktails are a quick way to increase your calorie count—and that’s not a good thing. They won’t fill you up and restaurants typically offer free refills, which means you can rapidly drink a few extra calories that may lack nutrients altogether. Ask for water, which fills you up, or unsweetened iced tea. Add a slice of lemon to add flavor and help reduce bloating.
Avoid the bread basket. Skip the carb-laden bread basket altogether. Even if you’re being served whole wheat bread, there’s a tendency to overeat when there’s a basket in front of you. If you’re hungry, it’s easy to lose track of how much bread you eat until your entrée comes and then ignore the fact that you’ve already filled up so that you can enjoy your meal. This is a quick way to derail even the best weight loss programs.
Cut the bun. If you’re at a barbecue and the host is grilling burgers, ask for one half of the bun only or wrap it in lettuce and nix the bun altogether—aka protein style. By eliminating one half of the bun, you’ll reduce the heavy carb factor enough to make a difference without changing the taste too much.
Spoil your meal—just a little. Instead of arriving to the restaurant or party on a growling stomach, have a little snack before you go so that you don’t bum rush the buffet table or fall into the bread basket overload mentioned above. Centers for weight loss recommend having a small, healthy snack to stave off hunger—try a piece of fruit, sliced veggies, a small handful of nuts or light serving of Greek yogurt before you walk out the door.