Eating out when you’re on a diet

What do you do if you’re calorie counting but your friends invite you out for a slap up meal? You don’t have to become a lettuce leaf-eating recluse if you want to lose a few pounds. You can still enjoy a good meal out without ruining your diet by choosing sensibly from the menu. Also, it’s not a good idea to go on hunger strike for the entire day before you go out because you will be so hungry by the time you get to the restaurant that you will be more likely to binge and overindulge.

Restaurant survival tips for dieters

Starters

Soup is a great option if you’re watching your weight, as long as you avoid creamy options and don’t fill up on too much bread and butter with it. Seafood and salads are also good choices to go for.

Mains

Avoid fried foods, creamy sauces and anything that comes dripping in oil. Don’t be afraid to ask for more information about what’s in each dish and how it’s cooked. If you’re not sure, the staff will be happy to help. Instead of going for a pizza or a fillet steak, opt for grilled lean white meats and fish. A typical 8oz portion of fried fillet steak has 316 calories and 13.6 grams of fat, whereas a serving of grilled skinless chicken contains 192 calories and 2.9 grams of fat, and a portion of grilled fish contains just 125 calories and as little as 1 gram of fat.

Think about your side orders as well. Order potatoes instead of a big bowl of chips or opt for a nutritious side salad. When ordering a salad, remember to inquire about the dressing it comes with. If it’s rich and creamy, you can always ask them to leave it off or have it served separately, then you can control how much of it you eat.

Dessert

Chocolate fudge cake might be off the menu for you (sorry!), but that doesn’t mean you have to sit twiddling your thumbs while everyone else is tucking into their dessert. For a light, refreshing end to your meal, have a sorbet or fruit salad instead.

Alcohol

Booze is loaded with calories so don’t go mad. A 125ml glass of medium white wine has 95 calories in it and most pints of lager have over 200 calories. To reduce your calorie intake, have diet or low calorie mixers and try to drink water or low calorie soft drinks in between every alcoholic drink you have.

Fast food can be good food

What to eat when you’re on the go and pressed for time can also be a problem for dieters. We automatically associate ‘fast food’ with burgers, pizza and fried chicken, which are all packed with calories and saturated fat. There are however, quick, healthy options available when you need to eat lunch on the run. Soup and juice bars are becoming increasingly popular and offer you tasty, nutritious food in a flash that gives you an energy boost and is kind to your waistline.

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