30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge Day 12: A Healthy Guide to Restaurant Eating

how to eat healthy at restaurants
Eating out doesn't mean you have to blow your calorie budget for the day. (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Your get lean journey is really more about a lifestyle change. It's not a diet or a short-term fix — and it shouldn't put a damper on your social life. So what happens on date night or when you want to go to dinner with friends?

Don't panic! Eating out while watching your diet can be tricky, but with a little preparation, you can navigate the treacherous waters of temptation without doing serious damage.

4 Tips for Planning Your Dinner Out

  1. Select a restaurant with healthy menu options. (If that's within your control, of course.) Pro tip: The MyPlate calorie tracking app already has a lot of healthy chain restaurant foods in its database, so you can even pre-track your calories.
  2. Check out the menu online and decide what you'll order before you get there.
  3. Want an appetizer, entree and dessert? Adjust your calories for the day accordingly, so you don't exceed your limit.
  4. Get your workout in ahead of time. You likely won't feel like it after eating out plus you'll remember exactly how much work burning 100 calories required.

7 Ways to Eat Healthy On the Go

Alright, so you made last-minute plans and don't have time to plan your meal. Or you just need to run out and grab lunch. If you don't have time to strategize, don't worry. These tips will help you eat out without derailing your progress.

  1. Avoid alcohol. Stick with water, unsweetened teas or drinks without added sugars.
  2. Practice portion control. Eat half of your entree and ask for a to-go bag for the rest.
  3. Order things on the side. Order salad dressings and sauces on the side, adding only the amount you need.
  4. Steer clear of fried and sautéed dishes. Opt for grilled, steamed or broiled dishes instead.
  5. Assert yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for modifications or substitutions to make your order healthier. Your server should be happy to accommodate your requests.
  6. Take your time. Eat slowly to give your stomach enough time to tell your brain you're full.
  7. Swap out starchy sides. Trade potatoes, pastas and bread for steamed veggies or a side salad.

How to Join the 30-Day Get Lean in 2018 Challenge

Livestrong myplate calorie tracking app
Calorie tracking can be easy. (Image: LIVESTRONG.COM)

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.