Dining Out

How to eat out and maintain your weight loss

When you are trying to lose weight, dining out can be a challenge. The Portion sizes at many restaurants are enormous and you never know if something has been cooked in oil containing trans fats. We don't know what is going on behind restaurant kitchen doors. In many cases, desserts are made with refined white flour, vegetables and seafood are smothered in butter and sauces are loaded with salt and fat. Does this mean you will have to let your weight-loss efforts slide in order to eat out? Absolutely not.

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There are numerous ways to dine at a restaurant without guiltily licking the remnants of a beer-battered fish and/or chocolate soufflé off your lips. You are a paying customer and as such should not be afraid to make small requests that will go a long way to preserving your waist line. The following are some tips to consider when you are dining out:

Start off right – Skip the bread basket or else limit yourself to one slice or small bun. Stay away from the white breads and instead choose a whole-wheat bun or a slice of rye or pumpernickel.

Have an appetizer – Help curb you hunger by starting your meal off with a salad or a bowl of soup. Order a side garden salad with a light vinaigrette or oil and vinegar dressing on the side. If you choose to order soup, select a broth-based soup rather than a creamy soup that is likely full of fat. If it's protein you're craving, order a shrimp cocktail.

Lighter entrees – Order a smaller entry or even an appetizer for your main dish. If you order off the main menu try to stick to grilled fish or chicken and find out how the food is cooked. Don't be afraid to tell your waiter to have the kitchen lighten up on the oil or skip the butter.

Side dishes – If you can, order a side salad or soup with your entrée. This is probably your healthiest choice. Be sure to ask for dressing on the side and if you order soup order a broth or minestrone soup. If you have to order a potato, order a baked potato without butter or fatty sour cream. Baked potatoes are quite healthy without the added toppings. If possible, ask for a double order of vegetables.

Dessert – Sometimes it is impossible to resist dessert, especially when you're following a weight-loss plan. If you can't pass it up, try a lighter fare such as sorbet or a fruit platter. If you insist on the decadent chocolate cake or the cheesecake, split it with the person you are dining with or eat half and take the rest home for the next day.