If you are on a weight loss diet, a weekend of socializing and eating out can undo an entire week’s effort if not careful about what’s going on the plate. For someone who is desperately trying to lose weight, it can be a dicey situation where you don’t want to pass the opportunity to socialize and get together with family and friends while eating out, but do not want to get off the weight loss wagon by letting the guard down during such indulgences. However, we do not want you to stop having fun and also refrain yourself a treat after a week of adhering to the diet and exercise strictly. It’s easy to overeat and give into temptation while dining out, but not eating mindfully can sabotage a whole week’s progress with regards to weight loss. That’s why, we have listed out 14 Brilliant Tips to Follow While Eating Out on a Weight Loss Diet.
14 Brilliant Tips to Follow While Eating Out on a Weight Loss Diet:
1. Scroll through the Menu Online: It would be a good idea to check the menu of the restaurant/hotel online to single out healthy dishes. Nowadays, one can easily find soft copies of the menu online and make an informed decision on what kind of dish is low on calories and what kind of food would would not throw your weight loss goals into the ditch. Additionally, you can also call up the hotel/restaurant and ask them about healthy options available, and they would only be happy to suggest such dishes.
2. Pick Protein and Fiber Rich Dishes: Look for protein and fiber rich dishes – protein and fiber keeps you full for longer, reduce overeating, and boost weight loss efforts.
3. Eat a Protein-Rich Snack Before Heading Out: Do not arrive at the restaurant in a famished mode, in which condition, you would not have the patience to zero in on healthy options. Half an hour before heading out, don’t forget to indulge in a protein-rich snack such as a handful of nuts, a cup of Greek yogurt, or even a small bowl of oats with a sprinkling of chia seeds to keep the hunger hormones in check.
4. Practice Water Preloading: Water preloading is a healthy and almost effortless way to boost weight loss. In this strategy, experts recommend to consume 500 ml of plain water half an hour before each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Such a quantity of water before the meal will significantly stretch your tummy and as a result, there would be lesser release of the hunger hormone “ghrelin.” This means you would feel full with less food and fewer calorie intake. It is an effective strategy to tackle overeating and can apply the same technique while heading out for brunch, lunch or dinner. Load up on water and reduce the chances of overeating.
5. Always Order what you think is Right for you: Do not get influenced by the stuff other people in the group have ordered for themselves. Opt for grilled and baked variants, totally avoid deeply-fried varieties. Choose brown rice or whole-grain bread over white bread and white rice.
6. Fill half of your plate with veggies or lean protein dishes in all all-you-can eat Buffet: It would be a good idea to fill half of your plate with vegetables and other lean protein dishes in buffer where the options are unlimited. Read about 15 Food Sources of Lean Protein that Can Help with Weight Loss here.
7. Avoid the Bread Basket: Totally avoid nibbling on the breads from the bread basket because it’s the easiest way to pile on extra calories (most of them are made with refined flour) and they do not make you full either.
8. Start with a Salad: Starting the meal with a plate full of salad sans the heavy high-calorie dressing would be a good idea to feel full with lesser calories.
9. Avoid sugary beverages and colas: Say yes to water and “no” to sugary beverages, fruit juices, and colas while eating out.
10. Avoid Sugar-free and Fat-Free Dishes: It would be a good idea to completely stay off sugar-free and fat-free dishes unless all the ingredients that have been added are revealed to you. Fat-free versions usually have loads of sugar added to make up for the bland taste after removal of the fat content. Also, sugar-free versions may have artificial sweeteners which can trigger weight gain.
11. Practice Portion Control: Portion control is absolutely essential in any weight loss program to prevent piling on extra pounds, especially when you are eating out. Do not go for second servings, eat from a small plate, and if there’s any leftover, you can ask for a doggy bag to take home. Here are some tips to practice portion control.
12. Avoid Condiments: All the extra calories would make way to your plate through sauces, dressings, mayonnaise, butter, and of course extra sprinkling of salt. Do avoid creamy dressings, high-calorie sauces in dishes while dining out.
13. Chew Slowly: It’s a sure-shot way to feel full without overeating. Chewing slowly is a part of mindful eating because it recommends enjoying each bite of food and being aware of the quality and quantity of food that you are consuming. When you eat too fast, your brain doesn’t get the signal to stop once you are full. This means that you often eat more than you actually require. Another interesting fact is that the brain takes about 20 minutes to register that you have eaten food and by slowing down, you can actually reach satiation point during the eating process itself and stop yourself from piling on extra pounds. Additionally, at a restaurant, order food with a lot of texture that would require a lot of chewing, and you can feel full faster.
14. Eat your Dessert Slowly: Here’s a little trick supermodels often practice when they are eating desserts. They tend to show restraint around sugary delights and usually savour every bite they take instead of gulping down spoonfuls. Most often, by the third bite, they are usually satisfied and want to eat no more, pushing the dessert plate away, and not overindulging in sugary delights. Also, look for options like vanilla honeyed oranges and pomegranates, and dark chocolate dessert varieties on the menu.
In the end, even if you go overboard, you can term it as a “cheat meal” and get on track with the next meal without jeopardizing your weight loss efforts.