Going out to dinner tonight? Why not? Letting someone else cook is relaxing -- the perfect treat after a busy day. Trouble is, the average restaurant meal contains more than 1,200 calories. And if you're looking to lose weight, that's going to make a huge dent in your efforts.
Fortunately, you can order off any menu and drop pounds -- or maintain a healthy weight -- without depriving yourself. Just follow our easy guide:
#1 PLAN AHEAD
Read the menu online before going out. Most restaurants have a copy of their menus on their website. The menu may point out ‘lighter’ dishes that are under 500 calories which would be a perfect choice. Make your choice at home and ignore the rest of the menu when you’re at the restaurant.
#2 BE CAUTIOUS OF SALADS
Although they look like the healthiest option, gigantic portions and fatty salad dressings can actually make salads one of the highest calorie options on the menu. If choosing a salad, ask for your dressing on the side and go for the light option.
#3 PICK THE BEST PROTEIN
If you are a steak lover, steer clear of the rib-eye. A 10-ounce rib-eye can pack 780 calories or more. Instead, order leaner cuts of beef, such as tenderloin, or fillet, or go for grilled chicken or fish instead. The recommended serving size for protein is approximately 5 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand).
#4 DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK
A good restaurant will honour all kinds of special requests. Ask for your food grilled or baked instead of fried. Ask for boiled potatoes instead of chips. Ask for brown over white bread and rice. Ask for a smaller portion of your entree. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
#5 DON'T SKIP LUNCH
You've booked a big dinner, so you save yourself some room (and some calories) by skipping lunch. Sound familiar? Keep your hunger under control by eating a light lunch, such as a salad with chicken and a whole-grain roll. Then in the late afternoon, have a small snack.
#6 PORTION CONTROL!
Most of the time, the servings you get at a restaurant are enough to feed 2 or 3 people! Remember you can always leave some food on the plate or take home a doggy bag.
Follow these tips and we promise you'll still feel as pleasantly full and satisfied as you would picking your usual temptation.