4 ways to go out to dinner and still lose weight: eat this, not that

When you’re tired of cooking at home, a night out sounds ideal. Whether you’re trying something new or going to sit down at one of your favorite restaurants, dining out from time to time may be necessary. However, when you’re trying to lose weight, a night out sounds more like a glutinous activity than a pleasure.

If you’re watching your weight, that shouldn’t stop you from going out and enjoying a meal at a restaurant with friends and family. It just means that you need to be more careful about what you eat and how much you eat. We spoke with Lisa Young, PhD, RDNauthor of Finally full, finally slim, a nutritionist in private practice and a member of our Board of Medical Experts, to give us the inside scoop on how we can go out to dinner and still lose weight. Read on to see how to do it. Then, for more on dining out, check out The Worst Thing to Order at The Cheesecake Factory, Dietician Says.

portioned dish

It’s possible to go to a restaurant and order a pasta dish when you’re trying to lose weight. However, while delicious, try not to eat it all at once. Instead, try separating it with other hearty but healthier options.

“Restaurant portions are huge, so it’s worth splitting an entree and ordering an extra salad and side of vegetables to share,” says Young.

Plus, you can have leftovers to eat the next day. That’s an added benefit!

RELATED: What Perfect Food Portion Sizes Really Look Like

woman refusing or saying no to being served a glass of wine alcohol

When you go out to eat with friends and/or family, it can sometimes feel like a big gathering or celebration. Usually this will require some alcoholic beverages, with joy for your time together.

“If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s really helpful to watch your alcohol intake,” says Young. “And, if you’re drinking, drink with a meal.”

If you’re not drinking alcohol, you still want to make sure your beverage choice is healthier.

“Limit soft drinks and sugary syrups,” suggests Young.

woman eating protein bar

Have you ever purposely eaten less throughout the day knowing you were going to eat out and have a great meal? Well, it’s time to kick that habit to rest.

“We’re often hungry when we get to the restaurant,” Young shares. “Eating a healthy snack an hour or two before going out helps.”

Skipping meals has also been linked to weight gain, according to research published in the nutrients daily. Therefore, it is important to eat all meals and not go hungry.

RELATED: 9 Best High-Protein Snacks For Fast Weight Loss

woman eating salmon salad and smiling

One of the first things that waiters and waitresses put on your table is a basket of bread. And while it’s tempting, there are better options when you’re dining out to lose weight.

“Instead of eating the entire bread basket, which we usually do when we sit at the restaurant and wait for our main course to arrive, order a healthy appetizer,” says Young.

Young suggests enjoying a salad with mixed vegetables or a vegetable-based soup. Vegetables can help keep you full longer, which is great when you’re trying not to overeat and lose weight.

Kayla Garritano

Kayla Garritano is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That! She is a graduate of Hofstra University, where she majored in Journalism and double majored in Marketing and Creative Writing. read more

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