I always seem to overindulge when I eat out. What are some tips to help me stay on track with healthy eating?

posted Oct 25, 2011, 6:10 AM by daniel.choi@ilcreations.com


I always seem to overindulge when I eat out.  What are some tips to help me stay on track with healthy eating?


  • Review the menu online so you can plan ahead of time what you will eat.
  • Have a healthful snack before going out, so you don't arrive "so hungry you could eat a horse."
  • Start with a mixed green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing or a broth-based soup ASAP to act as "filler" and help curb your appetite.
  • Request that the breadbasket not be brought to the table, or place it at the opposite end of the table.
  • Order an un-fried appetizer, such as shrimp cocktail, lettuce wraps, steamed spring rolls, or grilled chicken breast on skewers, as your entrée. Consider this for children as well… children's menus typically contain high fat foods (e.g., hot dogs or fried chicken fingers and French fries) in huge portions.
  • Another way to cut down on portion sizes is to share an appetizer and entrée with a friend.
  • Always ask how menu items are prepared. Choose baked, broiled, poached, steamed, or grilled. Avoid fried, deep-fried, creamed and blackened.
  • Pay attention to adjectives used to describe foods. A colossal baked potato that is smothered in butter and sour cream and dripping with cheese will most likely be high in fat and calories, for example.
  • Be specific about how you want your meal prepared. Don't focus on what you shouldn't have. Instead say, "I would like this dish prepared this way."
  • Request that all condiments, dressings, and sauces be served on the side; and use them sparingly.
  • Where applicable, request "light on the cheese, please." You may also request that less oil or butter be used.
  • Create quantity with vegetables - start with a salad or broth-based vegetable soup, have a "virgin" Bloody Mary (tomato juice), and ask for extra vegetables instead of rice or potato.
  • If you drink alcohol, alternate every drink with 2 large glasses of water (or seltzer water with a lime/lemon twist). Limit alcohol - it contains a significant amount of calories and may reduce your resolve to eat healthfully.
  • If you must have dessert, plan your strategy accordingly. Eat a smaller portion of dinner, order fresh fruit or berries for dessert, and/or share a richer dessert with others.
  • Eat slowly and SAVOR every last morsel.
  • Bring mindfulness and awareness to the eating experience. Don't sacrifice the goal for the moment.
  • If you happen to overeat, re-focus IMMEDIATELY on your goals of healthful eating and regular exercise, instead of waiting to start over again the next day.