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
- Select a restaurant with healthy menu options. (If that's within your control, of course.)
- Check out the menu online and decide what you'll order before you get there.
- 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.
- Adjust your calories for the day accordingly, so you don't exceed your limit.
- 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:
- Avoid alcohol. Stick with water, unsweetened teas or drinks without added sugars.
- Practice portion control. Eat half of your entree and ask for a to-go bag for the rest.
- Order things on the side. Order salad dressings and sauces on the side, adding only the amount you need.
- Steer clear of fried and sautéed dishes. Opt for grilled, steamed or broiled dishes instead.
- 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.
- Take your time. Eat slowly to give your stomach enough time to tell your brain you're full.
- 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
- How the Timing of Your Lunch Order Affects Weight Gain
- Clean Eating in Restaurants, at Home and With Kids
- The 14 Healthiest Foods at Fast Food Restaurants
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!