When you’re looking to cut calories and drop weight, eating at home is always the easiest. You can choose your own ingredients, control your own portion sizes, and dictate your menu just the way you want it.
Still, just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be able to enjoy delicious meals at a restaurant. Here are 5 tips for dining out on a diet.
1. Research nutritional information before you go out.
This is an extra step that many people simply don’t do because it takes some extra time and preparation.
Naturally, you’ll want to be able to have a hand in choosing the restaurant that you go to, if possible. Many restaurants now have their nutritional information online, so you can use that to dictate which establishment will offer the lowest-calorie fare.
But even if you can’t help choose where you’ll be dining, you can usually go online to at least pick out what you’ll eat at the restaurant beforehand. Keep in mind that sometimes, restaurants’ menus will not be on their websites but will be available on a website like Yelp or even Facebook. If you decide to splurge at the resto, this preparation will give you the opportunity to plan ahead and limit your calorie intake throughout the day.
2. Fill up before you leave home.
Some people find that they consume the most calories when they’re super hungry. If you are someone like this, you definitely don’t want to arrive at the restaurant starving!
For this reason, fill up a bit with lower-calorie foods at home. Have a salad and a glass of water or a small, lean piece of chicken and a few vegetables. You want to be a little bit hungry when you arrive at the restaurant so that you can partake in the dining atmosphere, but you don’t want to be so ravenous that you splurge and ruin your calorie count for the day.
Also, when you arrive at the restaurant, make sure to order a glass of water or a diet soda right away. Being able to sip on this will occupy you and keep you from nibbling on free bread, nuts, or appetizers that your tablemates order while you wait for your main meal.
3. Consider the culinary cannabis scene.
With cannabis becoming legal in an increasing number of states, it’s no wonder cannabis restaurants are cropping up everywhere. If you’re on a diet, this is good news. Having cannabis infused into your meal can be delicious — and fun! Of course, it can also help you avoid extra calories.
For one thing, cannabis consumption often encourages weight loss. Basically, it acts as an appetite suppressant, so you’ll end up consuming fewer calories overall.
Even if you don’t choose to consume your cannabis, smoking it while eating can be beneficial to your waistline too. That’s because dining at a cannabis restaurant offers something more to do other than just eat. Smoking cannabis before, during, or after eating your meal keeps you from eating out of boredom or picking at food you really don’t want. It’s better than supplementing food with alcohol too because unlike alcohol, smoked cannabis has zero calories.
Keep in mind you can use this tip at home too. Visit a cannabis dispensary Las Vegas residents trust to obtain your cannabis, then start cooking with it (or smoking it) at home to encourage your weight loss progress.
4. Ask a tablemate if they want to share a dish.
Portion sizes at many restaurants are notoriously large. But sometimes, you don’t have the option for something smaller (or all the smaller options are simply fried appetizers).
In these situations, it’s wise to ask a tablemate if they’d like to share. If someone agrees, tell your server about it in advance (yes, even if they charge a few dollars more to divide the meal onto two plates).
If no one agrees to share with you, you can always tell your server that you’d only like half of your meal delivered to your table as well. You can request that the other half be packaged into a doggy bag for you to take home at the end of your evening.
5. Ditch the extras.
Lastly, whenever dining out on a diet, always skip the extras, like appetizers, high-calorie drinks, and desserts. These can be fun to add to your meal sometimes, but they are usually loaded with calories, sugar, and saturated fat, none of which you need when you’re trying to lose weight. If you really want to add an appetizer, drink, or dessert to your meal, then simply be sure to balance this out with a smaller main course.
Remember — whether it’s a celebratory dinner with family, a date night with your significant other, or just a fun evening with friends, you can still enjoy a night out and stick to your diet!