With the hum of soft music, the lure of a beautifully designed menu, and the aroma of delicious foods wafting to your nostrils, a restaurant’s ambiance can sometimes blind you from what you’re eating. They elegantly arrange a caloric death trap. But before you put the nail on your calorie coffin, check out these straightforward tips that allow you to cut calories while eating out.
Cut Calories While Eating Out
Skip the Bread
Sure, the bread tastes great, but the calories it contains aren’t. While a single breadstick from Olive Garden only has 150 calories, let’s be honest and admit that one isn’t going to cut it. They’re just so good! But eating 2 or 3 breadsticks makes you quickly rake in the calories and leaves less room in your stomach for vegetables that show up with your entree. Best bet: avoid the bread and enjoy your whole meal.
Be First in Line
So you’re out to eat, and your friend orders some decadent sounding dinner from cloud 9 that’s nothing shy of a gut bomb. You’re next to order, so you spit out, oh, that sounds delicious, I’ll get that too. Hey, please don’t blame yourself; we all do it. The solution? Order first. By ordering before everyone else, you don’t have the option to go back and change your mind.
Use Weight Loss Apps
Many restaurants these days have generous portion sizes. If you’re not entirely sure what a portion size looks like, check out your hand. The size of your palm is about the same as what a serving of meat should look like. A perfect serving size for pasta, fruits, and vegetables is easily demonstrated when you make a fist. But how often do you get a knuckle sandwich-sized tangle of spaghetti? Never. And for that reason, an appetizer may be the perfect solution to snipping calories off your meal. Or, if you don’t see an appetizer that is a suitable substitute for dinner, refer to the tip below titled Go Half In.
Down the Hatch
The average can of soda contains somewhere around 150 calories. However, when you go out to eat, you’re not tipping back a mere 12 ounces of sugary drink. Realistically, you’re sipping on a 24-ounce glass and getting at least one refill. And you may want to rethink that after-dinner latte. At 8 ounces, the average latte has around 110 calories. But while these calorie packers add to your waistline, they are good at reducing one thing: your wallet. Drinks add up, which is almost silly when you can get a refreshing, healthy, calorie-exempt drink, known as water, for free.
Francophones may disagree, but eating a salad before your main meal isn’t always such a bad idea. By starting with greens, you’re more likely to feel fuller when your entree comes, so you’ll be nixing a considerable portion of the calories you’d ingest.
Leave the Fish to Fry
While it may not seem like a big difference, fried foods have way more calories. Take chicken, for example; a single piece of fried poultry has up to 260 calories, while a grilled piece may only have around 148. If you see something on the menu that you like but notice it’s fried, ask the wait staff if you can substitute it for a healthier option, like something broiled or grilled. And don’t get played by words. Crusted is generally just a euphemism for fried, so be on the lookout.
Don’t Be Seduced by Salads
Take a look to see what’s lurking among those leaves. If you think a salad is a better meal choice, remember that the average Cobb packs in about 840 calories. Yeah, that’s more than 3 Whopper Jr. sandwiches. With dressings that grab your gut, sodium-ridden cheeses, and crunchy fried meats, salads can pose a considerable threat, so choose wisely. Look for ones that offer an array of colorful vegetables and greens while keeping dressings to vinaigrettes or lemon juice.
Go Half In
How often do you eat an entire entree at a restaurant? And if you can finish your entire meal, do you feel overly full? While it sounds radical, try putting half of your meal in a to-go box before you dig in or split it with a member of your party. You just might be surprised how satisfied you feel, and your waist will thank you.
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