Staying On Track
Top Tips for Staying on the Diet at Restaurants
Sticking to a diet can be especially difficult at restaurants. These days the average entree at a popular restaurant is over 1200 calories!1 That’s not good for anyone trying to lose weight.
Taking a break from going to restaurants and eating out (especially during the first two weeks of Phase 1) will give you a better chance of losing more weight overall. But if you have to go, these tips will help you minimize your chances of eating off the diet (select the strategies that work for your diet plan).
Most restaurants have their menus posted online. Look it up ahead of time and decide what you want to eat before you get there. You can even call and ask if they will heat an HMR Entree for you or blend you a shake.
Eat before you go
Having a shake or an entree with vegetables before you arrive at the restaurant means you will be fuller, and less likely to eat off the diet.
Try to pick the restaurant
If you can, pick a restaurant that you know will work with your dietary restrictions. Some restaurants are more supportive than others. Try to find a restaurant that has a variety of healthy salads and vegetable side dishes.
Bring shakes and entrees with you
Many restaurants are happy to heat your entrees or make a shake for you. You can also have an entree at room temperature over a salad – just ask your server.
Make a meal out of healthy side dishes and salads
Look at the salads and side dishes or vegetables served with other main courses, and order a plate of vegetables from the options you like. Be sure to ask for no butter or oil or high-fat sauces.
Bring fat-free, low-calorie salad dressing with you
Salad dressings can contain a lot of “hidden calories.” Bring your own that is low-calorie and fat-free.
Don’t limit yourself to what you see on the menu
Often restaurants are happy to customize a dish for you. Order a vegetable plate with only fat-free, low-calorie sauces and no oil.
Eat all of your diet foods for the day, no matter what
Even if you do go out to eat at a restaurant, always make sure you meet your minimums for shakes, entrees, and fruits and vegetables. By getting in your minimums, you will maintain your dieting momentum, which means you’ll be more likely to continue on the diet the next day.
Keep your records current. This will help you stay connected to your diet, and reinforce your positive behaviors.
1 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.11.009