If you’re planning to travel this summer, you might find yourself dining in more restaurants than usual. This can pose a risk to your weight maintenance or weight loss plan, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on positive results until you return from your trip. If you’re aware of the dietary dangers that lurk in restaurants, it’s actually not too difficult to avoid them.
Opt for correct portion sizes. Restaurants typically structure their menus around enormous portion sizes, often about double the amounts we really should be eating! You can combat this problem by asking for a to-go box at the beginning of your meal, and packing up half of the plate before you dig in.
Watch out for side items. Sometimes the side items can be more calorie laden, and less healthy, than your main entree! Ask your server about swapping fries or other carb-heavy sides for a salad, fruit, or steamed veggies.
Select your dressing wisely. If you do opt for salad, be careful when you choose your dressing. Many of the creamy varieties are heavy in fat, and low in nutritional value. Choose an olive oil-based dressing instead, inquire about low-fat options, or ask for dressing on the side. Likewise, avoid extras like butter, sour cream, or heavy sauces on your entree.
Skip the bread basket. When you order your drinks, go ahead and tell your server that you won’t be needing a bread basket. That way you can avoid the temptation of unnecessary carbs.
Order water. You might be surprised at how many calories lurk within common drinks, especially alcoholic beverages which contain loads of added sugar. Order water or unsweetened tea instead. You can spruce it up with lemons, or bring along your own low-calorie flavor enhancement packets.
Share. If an item on the menu is just too tempting, offer to split it with the group. A bite or two of dessert is often just as fulfilling as the whole dish.
Slow down and enjoy. Eating out is a treat, so savor it! Take your time, engage in lively conversation, and set down your fork between bites. Giving your stomach time to send its fullness signals will prevent over-eating, and you’ll enjoy your special meal so much more.
Of course, you might want to decide upon a solid weight loss plan (or maintenance plan) before you even leave for a vacation. That way, you’ll know exactly what you should be eating. For more specific advice geared toward your body type and goals, make an appointment with us. We’ll help you design an eating plan for success.