Eating healthy can be somewhat of a challenge, especially if you’re used to dining out a lot. Trust me, I understand the struggle. That’s why I’ve decided to give you my restaurant tips on how to stay on a diet and eat healthy.

Read on and you’ll feel much more confident about continuing your health journey even if you don’t want to give up eating in restaurants.

Restaurant Tips – How to Stay On a Diet and Eat Healthy

At home, you have control over the ingredients and preparation of your food— at a restaurant, not so much.

So how do you stay on track with your fitness journey or weight loss goals?

Do you say “no” to friends and family who want to go out to eat? Of course not!

Just follow these restaurant rules to minimize any setbacks to your fitness plan.

Tip #1. Order Water

Soda, lemonade, sweet tea, and other drinks contain lots of extra sugar, which will add empty calories to your meal. Instead, focus on drinking water.

It will help fill your stomach so you’re not as hungry; plus, it’s really good for you!

Even wine packs a caloric punch— so if you really want to indulge but don’t want to overdo it, try to limit your consumption to a single glass.

restaurant tips on how to stay on a diet and eat healthy

Tip #2. Plan Ahead If Possible

Maybe you’re being whisked away to lunch or dinner at the last minute, in which case you can’t really plan ahead.

However, if your meal plans have been set ahead of time, take a few moments to look up the menu of the restaurant on your phone or laptop.

Check the nutrition information so you can mentally note any dishes which are unreasonably high in fat and calories.

Avoid those selections and focus on meal options with fewer calories and better nutritional content.

Sometimes, the restaurant will conveniently mark the entrées that are “heart-healthy,” “light,” or “low-fat.”

The menu options marked as vegan or vegetarian are excellent choices as well since they tend to be healthier, lower in calories and higher in vegetables.

Tip #3. Choose Soup or Salad

One way to keep your restaurant meal healthier is to order soup or salad, or both!

Most restaurants offer at least one salad option, and many of them provide truly delicious salads with seafood or grilled chicken.

Request your dressing on the side so you can limit how much you use.

restaurant tips on how to stay on a diet and eat healthy

Soup is also generally lower in calories than a full meal of meat and sides or a pasta dish. Ask about the soup of the day or check out the other soup choices on the menu.

Tip #4. Swap the Sides

Does your lovely piece of fish or baked chicken come with a side of fries?

Switch out the fries for vegetables, fruit, a baked potato, or a side salad.

Instead of loading a baked potato with butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese use just a little butter or add veggies, chili, or salsa as tips on how to stay on a diet and eat healthy

Tip #5. Curb the Portions

Maybe the restaurant you’re visiting is known for doling out huge portions.

Perhaps you could split a meal with someone else at your table, or eat half the food and bring the rest home in a takeout box.

Then you’ll get to enjoy two meals for the price of one!

restaurant tips on how to stay on a diet and eat healthy

You could also order an appetizer rather than a full entrée— just be sure the appetizer is something relatively healthy.

Tip #6. Eat Slowly

If you eat too fast, you’ll consume more food in a sitting.

Your stomach gets so busy taking in the food that it doesn’t have time to send the signal to your brain— “you’re full, so stop eating!”

By the time you actually feel full, you’ll have over-eaten.

Instead of eating quickly, take small bites, chew slowly, and enjoy some good conversation.

Tip #7. Give Yourself a Break

Remember, it’s all right to splurge at a restaurant once in a while; and if you do, don’t burden yourself with guilt.

If you know a big restaurant meal is coming up, try to eater lighter, healthier foods during the rest of the day.

In the following days, take extra care to eat healthy. It’s very important not to let food guilt take over you.

What are your tips and tricks for eating out when you’re on a diet?

Share those strategies to help out other women who may face “menu temptation” at a restaurant in the near future!

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

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