I eat dinner out a great deal mostly because I don't like to cook for only one person. Eating out creates many challenges for dieters. I personally like to order items that I wouldn't cook for myself. They tend to be higher in calories than what I would normally eat. Most of the time I'm really good at maintaining some semblence of a diet, but there are certainly times when I can't help but splurge. However, I always get back on the diet horse the next morning. Following are some helpful hints for "maintaining" when eating out:
1. Don't starve yourself beforehand. In fact, have a piece of fruit before you leave the house. You won't be tempted to eat nearly as much at the restaurant.
2. Watch the booze. Alcoholic beverages tend to increase ones appetite, and fermented alcohol (wine) usually makes one hungrier than distilled alcohol (vodka). If you must have a drink, have it WITH dinner -- not before, and alternate sips of liquor with sips of water. Preferably fill up with water, not alcohol. Add a lemon or lime squeeze to the water for flavor or order sparkling water.
3. Skip the bread. If you must have something before your entree, order a small dinner salad with low-fat dressing. If you happen to be dining at a restaurant that has lettuce wraps, order these as an appetizer and share with your tablemates. Both Chili's and P. F. Changs have delicious lettuce wraps. They also act as a low-cal filler so you won't want as much of your entree.
4. If the restaurant allows substitutes, opt for vegetables instead of potatoes or rice. However, I know that many times I WANT potatoes. I love potatoes. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 foods, one of them would be potatoes. To satisfy that craving, I order a baked potato and eat it plain or with only a little salt and pepper. And I always eat the skin. If it's a honker potato, cut it in half and remove one-half from your plate.
5. Ask for a take-out box at the same time you receive your entree. Immediately put half your meal into the box. You will avoid overeating and have lunch or dinner for the next day. As an alternative, eat family style. Order fewer entrees than there are people and pass around the dishes. Fill the gap with side dishes of vegetables.
If you have helpful hints, please share them here.
Chow for now.