If you are one of the thousands of people who are currently on a diet, you probably dread that night out with friends or family. It is often hard to stick to your diet during special occasions or nights out at your favorite French restaurant. The good news is there are some things you may be able to do in order to ensure that you do not eat more than you should just because you are out. Of course some of these things will take a lot of will power and no one is saying it is going to be the easiest thing you have ever done but keep in mind that you only have a few hours to get through. With that being said, some of the following suggestions may help you practice a little bit of caution and avoid some unwanted temptation.
Everything in Moderation
Just because you are on a diet does not mean you cannot sample a small amount of that lovely appetizer plate they have put in front of you. A little bit of almost anything won’t kill you or wreck your diet. However, you will have to closely monitor your portions. One good way of doing this is to take your small bread plate and take only what you want to eat. If you set a certain portion in front of you it is much easier to see exactly how much you are eating. Even if the appetizer is something like finger foods, avoid eating directly from the middle of the table as this may be a set up to consume more than you would like.
Eat Before You Go Out
If you are on a specific diet plan, you probably have a list of foods you are allowed to eat. If you have dinner reservations at 7, you might want to sit down at about 5 and snack on something light that is on your list of “do’s”. A nice plate of fresh veggies or fruits with a handful of nuts may help you avoid the temptation of eating a large portion at the restaurant. Just like they tell us not to shop at the grocery store when we are extremely hungry, the same can be said when going to a nice restaurant. The menu has a way of breaking down even the strongest dieters, especially if they have allowed themselves to become overly hungry. By putting some guilt free food between you and the many tempting menu items, you may be able to choose more sensibly. When the time does come to order you may even ask the waiter if half portions are available. In many cases the restaurant will be more than happy to accommodate its guests.
Drink a Lot of Water
Another excellent strategy in curbing your appetite is to drink a couple of glasses of water just before you leave the house. This may fill your stomach up a little bit and help you to stick to your diet. Remember, the less hungry you are when you arrive, the better your chances of successfully beating the system, if you will. While it is true that you may need to head for the bathroom a couple of times during the meal, look at the bright side, that will be less time you will spend sitting at the table and obsessing over the delicious food you are struggling to avoid eating.
If you are going out you almost certainly know just where you are going, unless of course you are going on a blind date and the restaurant has not been revealed. In any case, plan exactly what you will order based on what the restaurant offers. For example, if you are going to a seafood restaurant, you may want to forego the shrimp scampi over pasta and choose something lighter like a nice broiled filet of tilapia over a bed of vegetables. It is not a good idea to “decide when you get there”. By planning your meal out carefully before hand you can avoid browsing over the menu for a long time. After all, there is no reason to add anymore temptation than necessary.
Skip Bread and Dessert
A great rule of thumb when dining out is to skip anything that is brought to the table as a complimentary appetizer. Many nice restaurants bring out a nice bread basket with a dish of butter for guests to snack on while they wait for their food. Leave the bread alone and allow the other guests at the table to eat it. Not only is the bread itself not a good idea if you are trying to eat less but the butter is not very waistline friendly. Save your calories for what you really want. In addition, there is no rule of etiquette that states a person must order dessert when dining in a nice restaurant. Unless dessert is a nice fruit cup, leave it alone. Vow to eat an apple when you get home.
Watch the Cocktails
While cocktails may not be food and you certainly don’t eat them, they definitely deserve a mention. Most alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories. If you absolutely must have one with your meal, remember to stick to just one and go for a lighter option such as a nice glass of wine as apposed to a creamy, frozen Pina Colada. Beer is not only very filling but it has been attributed to bloating your belly quite a bit. If you are on a date you may want to avoid that at all costs.
If you do happen to “mess up” and over indulge yourself, don’t feel too terribly guilty. Just remember that you will have to work out twice as hard and watch your calories a bit more the following day. You are only human and you cannot always program yourself not to make mistakes. The important thing is that you try. By choosing lighter options and eating smaller portions, you can still enjoy a night out without totally sabotaging your diet.
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