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30-Day Get Lean in 2017 Challenge Day 12: Restaurant Rescue

author image Deborah Day
Deborah Day is a lifestyle and entertainment writer and editor. Former editor in chief of and executive editor of, she has been published on,,, and other media sites, as well as in Maxim, Interview and Time Out NY magazines.
30-Day Get Lean in 2017 Challenge Day 12: Restaurant Rescue
Cook up a plan to stay strong! Photo Credit: Gracie Wilson/LIVESTRONG.COM; Adobe Stock

Your fitness journey is a lifestyle change, not a short-term fix. It shouldn't put a damper on your social life or family obligations ― it should be integrated into them.

So what happens if there's a social or work event that requires dining at a restaurant? 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.

5 Tips for Planning Your Dinner Out

  1. Select a restaurant with healthy menu options. (If that's within your control, of course.)
  2. Check out the menu online and decide what you'll order before you get there.
  3. Consult the LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker — available on desktop and for iOS and Android devices ― because many of your favorite eateries are in there, making it easy to stay accountable and on track.
  4. Adjust your calories for the day accordingly, so you don't exceed your limit.
  5. Get your workout in ahead of time. You likely won't feel like it after eating out.

7 Tips for Healthy Eating On the Go

If it's spontaneous and 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.

Use these tips to eat out with confidence, be social and stay on track. Bon appétit!

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More About Dining Out While Getting Lean

Readers — Are you joining us in the 30-Day Get Lean in 2017 Challenge? If so, what's your weight-loss goal? Have you ever done a weight-loss challenge group before? How did it go? Have you joined our LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Group on Facebook? Leave a comment below and let us know!


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