When I eat out I want it to be special which is why I don’t eat out very often. You may have seen the advice on shaving calories in restaurants, but do you really want to pay high restaurant prices for plain salads and plain steamed veggies? If not, how can you solve the dilemma of too many calories when eating out?
Here are seven tips for cutting the calories out of restaurant meals while still ordering your favorites.
- Say NO to supersizes . The size you ordered is already too big. Stop super sizing and you will save money. Better yet, order dinner and ask for an extra plate. Many restaurants do this for a dollar or two, and it’s well worth it. Then share the meal with your friend and split the cost in the middle. Another option is to order from the so-called “starter” menu. Two people could order three starters, one dessert and split the whole and it’s still a lot of food!
- Skip the bread and rolls . Many family restaurants still serve a bread basket with your meal. Just skip it unless it’s a freshly baked loaf or a very special loaf. You don’t have to fill up on regular bread when you’re paying well for a meal. Just ask to take it off if you can’t resist, but honestly you’re an adult, you can resist if you want to. You can simply choose not to put a roll on your plate. Just give it a try and see if you don’t come out of that restaurant with a strangely powerful feeling.
If you can’t skip the buns, at least skip the butter. That’s right. Just eat it. Whole wheat bread is delicious on its own.
- Stop ordering drinks . Soft drinks are a huge cash cow for restaurants. For pennies, they’ll sell you a splash of syrup and carbonated water and pretend to be doing you a big favor by charging you just $ 1.29 for a giant 64 ounces of soda. Start saving those dollars. Especially if you order “to go”, skip the drink. If you eat it there, ask for water or at least switch to diet drinks. Never drink “fat pop”.
- Slow down your eating too fast ! Why so in a hurry? Take your time, enjoy the moment, enjoy the flavors. A big part of getting in touch with your hunger cues and learning to eat that will really satisfy you is learning to recognize the subtle signs of hunger. You don’t know when your satisfaction is approaching when you’ve gobbled everything up within five minutes. Take a bite and then notice how often you chew before you start swallowing? Once twice? Do your best to chew your food and your body will be much happier. A very large part of digestion starts in your mouth, not to mention that you will have a lot more pleasure if you let the food linger.
- Visibly trim fat and skin . I know, you really like the skin – of course, it tastes good, it should, it’s pure fat. Do you want to get lean, or do you want to eat fat? You choose. I never eat goosebumps and never eat the visible fat that hangs on a steak, good taste or no. You have to decide what more you want, the second value of pleasure from a yummy taste, or a lifetime with about 40 lbs extra? I know this contradicts the low carbohydrate belief that fat is good and carbohydrates is bad, but I have lost 80 pounds without dieting for 18 years and I am not eating any visible fat or skin. Enough said.
- Ask for a dog bag at the start of the meal. When the food is served, immediately hand out some to take home for tomorrow. Most restaurants in the US serve way too much. There is no law that you should all eat. Do this regularly and soon you will find yourself getting an extra lunch from that meal.
- Buy a copy of Restaurant Confidential by Michael F. Jacobson and Jayne Hurley and start checking how many calories you are actually eating. If you eat out often and you are carrying extra weight, then that is probably the problem. This little book can help you realize why it seems like you aren’t eating that much, but still can’t lose weight. Hardees recently introduced a new burger that packs in just under 1200 calories on its own! That’s scary.
If you really want to get a grip on your weight problem, look first at where you eat, second at what you eat, and third at how much you eat. Where, what and how much? Try these steps by choosing one tip at a time and see how easily you can get some of the calories out of the restaurant.