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Eating Out Calorie Guide

How To Control Your Calories When Dining Out

Calorie counting is challenging in itself, but calorie counting when you are out to dinner can become overwhelming and turn a great meal into a battle of the senses. The good news is that there are proven strategies about how to combat excessive caloric intake while you are at your favorite restaurant.

After learning the caloric properties of foods you enjoy and the seasonings you enjoy, you will subconsciously learn what fits into your weight loss program and what foods are “hands-off” at all costs. When you go to a favorite restaurant, the challenge becomes stronger because everybody there is enjoying the specialties of the house without thinking about their caloric properties.

In restaurants, you can be easily swayed by the environment and the tasty treats you know await. But, you have promised yourself that you are going to lose weight and controlling your caloric intake is part of the promise. It is a well-intentioned plan and one that will serve you well in the long-term.

Your commitment will, at times, need reinforcement. One of those times is when you are preparing to dine out. You must be confident that you have a plan and be disciplined enough to follow that plan. According to Hope Warshaw, a nutrition expert, the average American eats out four times per week. Whether your meal away from home is for a business reason or a social occasion, the same protocol can help you control your intake.

6 Basic Steps That Should Be Part of Your Dining Out Discipline:

  • Order the foods you enjoy the most. Dining out while on a calorie counting diet should not mean abstinence from the specialties you enjoy. If you are going to a restaurant with which you are familiar, you can plan what you will order. It is important to enjoy the meal. When you order your favorite dishes, customize your order to avoid some of the trappings and seasonings that can add calories to the dinner. It is a good idea to contemplate your order before you go to the restaurant and decide how you will order the meal that has the least caloric intake while still being tasty.
  • Half the meal goes home. Determine that you will order foods you like but that you will not eat the oversized portions that restaurants tend to supply. Portion control at a restaurant is a big challenge. Take half the meal home and enjoy it the next day.
  • Eat low-caloric foods before the main course. Order low calorie salads with a light salad dressing or a broth and help fill your stomach with these low calorie treats before the entrée arrives. This will make taking half the meal home that much easier.
  • Be a deliberate eater. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite. The more you chew, the more fulfilling the portion will be. The proper way to digest food is to thoroughly chew it, a rule most of us break at every meal.
  • Avoid the bread. Don’t waste caloric intake on side dishes like bread, butter, chips or other teasers. You have a plan of what and how you will enjoy the dinner and don’t compromise.
  • Take a walk after the meal. Taking a walk after dinner is an excellent way to balance out the caloric intake. A good, 10-15 minute walk will ensure proper digestion.

Cut Out Calories At Dessert

You might be able to resist dessert, but should you? If enjoying a dessert is part of your pre-restaurant plan, then go for it. But, like your meal, have a plan.

3 Easy Pointers to Cut Calories and Enjoy Dessert:
  • Split the dessert with a dinner partner. This is the most effective way to relish the taste in a small amount. When ordering, tell your tablemates that you will be spreading the dessert around for their enjoyment. One or two bites should be your limit.
  • Select your dessert with care. Do not make an uninformed choice. Always choose the healthiest dessert, not necessarily the sweetest. If you do not have confidence in any of the choices, pass on dessert. Another option is to plan ahead and order a dessert that can be enjoyed tomorrow. Eat a small amount and take the rest home.
  • Herbal tea or an espresso signal enough. If your companions are determined to enjoy dessert and you are not comfortable, order an herbal tea or an espresso. These refreshments will signal the brain that dinner is over and they will allow you to be a charming companion as your friends enjoy dessert.

Counting calories is a worthwhile exercise that can yield great health benefits. However, you do not want to appear disinterested in your social life. You can enjoy a good dinner and still manage your caloric intake. Hopefully, you will use these tips to stay on your weight loss program and maintain your friendships at the same time.

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