Tips for Eating Out While Losing Weight

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Looking to shed some pounds but still want to enjoy dining out? You’re in luck! Navigating restaurants while on a weight loss journey can be a breeze with the right tips. We’ve got your back with practical strategies to help you stay on track without feeling deprived. 

From making smart menu choices to controlling portions, our guide on “Tips for Eating Out While Losing Weight” will equip you with the tools you need to dine out with confidence. So, let’s dive in and discover how you can enjoy meals while working towards your weight loss goals!

Read the Menu Before You Go

Tips for Eating Out While Losing Weight

If you don’t know what’s on the menu, take a look at it before you go to the restaurant. When you’re hungry or not paying attention, you might pick unhealthy food more often.

Seeing and smelling food can make it harder to stick to a plan, especially if you’re hungry. Deciding what to eat before you get there helps you avoid making quick decisions that you might not like later.

Choose Wisely

When perusing the menu, opt for dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried. Look for lean protein options like grilled chicken, fish, or tofu, paired with plenty of vegetables. Avoid creamy sauces or dressings and opt for dishes that are seasoned with herbs and spices for flavor.

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  • Watch Your Portions

    Restaurant portions are often much larger than what you would serve yourself at home. To avoid overeating, consider splitting a dish with a friend or asking for a half portion. Alternatively, ask the server to box up half of your meal before it even reaches the table to avoid the temptation of finishing the entire plate.

    Check How Food is Cooked and Prepared

    The method used to cook food can change how many calories it has. Choose food that’s been steamed, grilled, roasted, or poached. These ways usually have less fat, so fewer calories. If the menu says the food is pan-fried, fried, crispy, crunchy, or sautéed, it will likely have more fat and calories.

    Be Mindful of Beverages

    Calories from beverages can add up quickly, especially when dining out. Opt for water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime instead of sugary sodas or alcoholic beverages. 

    If you do choose to indulge in alcohol, stick to one glass of wine or a light beer and alternate with water to stay hydrated and avoid excess calories.

    Plan Ahead

    Before heading out to eat, take a look at the menu online if possible. This will give you the opportunity to scope out healthier options and plan your meals in advance. Additionally, consider eating a small, balanced snack before you go to curb hunger and prevent overeating once you’re at the restaurant.

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    Practice Mindful Eating

    Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the sensory experience of eating, including the taste, texture, and aroma of food. Slow down and savor each bite, chewing thoroughly and putting your fork down between bites. 

    This will not only help you enjoy your meal more fully but also give your body time to register feelings of fullness, preventing overeating.

    Be Strategic with Sides

    Many restaurant meals come with a choice of sides, and opting for healthier options can make a big difference in your calorie intake. Instead of French fries or mashed potatoes, choose steamed vegetables, a side salad with dressing on the side, or a baked potato with salsa or plain yogurt instead of butter and sour cream.

    Stay Mindful of Hidden Calories

    Be aware of hidden sources of calories and unhealthy ingredients in seemingly innocent dishes. For example, salads can be loaded with high-calorie toppings like cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings. Instead, opt for salads with lots of colorful vegetables, lean protein, and vinaigrette dressing on the side.

    Listen to Your Body

    Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues throughout the meal. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, even if there is still food left on your plate. Remember, it’s okay to leave food behind if you’re no longer hungry, and you can always save leftovers for another meal.

    If you wanna know how gut health and weight loss are related, you can read our article “The Role of Gut Health in Weight Management”.

    Order 2 Appetizers Instead of a Main

    Research says that when food portions are big, people tend to eat more. So, if you’re going to a restaurant known for serving large portions, consider getting two appetizers instead of one main dish. This way, you can satisfy your hunger without consuming too many calories.

    Slow Down and Chew Thoroughly

    Chewing your food a lot and eating slower might help you eat less. It can also make you feel full faster. When you eat, try counting how many times you chew each bite. This can help you eat more slowly. Also, try putting your fork or spoon down between bites. This can help you eat at a slower pace and give your body time to feel full.

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  • Wrap-Up

    In conclusion, navigating restaurant menus while aiming to shed pounds can be daunting, but with a few smart strategies, it’s entirely doable. By prioritizing lean proteins, loads of veggies, and mindful portion control, you can still savor delicious meals without derailing your weight loss journey. 

    Remember to stay hydrated, opt for grilled or baked dishes, and don’t hesitate to customize your order to fit your goals. Happy dining and healthier living!


    How can I lose weight while eating out?

    To lose weight while eating out, opt for grilled or steamed dishes instead of fried ones. Choose salads with lean proteins like chicken or fish, and ask for dressing on the side. Control portion sizes by sharing meals or packing half for later. Lastly, skip sugary drinks and opt for water or unsweetened beverages.

    How can I reduce my fat intake when eating out?

    Reducing fat intake while dining out can be achieved by choosing dishes that are baked, grilled, or roasted rather than fried. Look for menu items labeled as “light” or “low-fat” and avoid creamy sauces or dressings. Opt for vegetable-based sides or salads instead of fried options, and ask for olive oil or vinegar for dressing.

    How do you maintain a calorie deficit when eating out?

    Maintaining a calorie deficit while eating out involves making mindful choices. Start by checking the menu for calorie information if available, and opt for smaller portions or half portions. 

    Choose dishes with lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid high-calorie appetizers and desserts, and opt for water or low-calorie beverages to accompany your meal.

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