There is perhaps nothing more frustrating than eating healthy, home-cooked meals for days in hopes of losing weight just to ruin it all with one huge restaurant meal. If you are like most Americans, you have a hectic lifestyle that makes it nearly impossible to maintain a weight loss or other healthy diet. In Ohio, eating at restaurants is fast, easy, often inexpensive and usually delicious. You may love all the benefits of eating out but hate the thought of consuming unhealthy food or gaining weight. Fortunately, eating at a restaurant does not have to sabotage your goals of losing weight or consuming a healthy diet.
The typical meal from a restaurant contains 1,327 calories, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, which is about 66 percent of the calories an average person needs in an entire day. Worse yet, 7.6 percent of the restaurant meals tested by the scientists provided more calories than a person needs all day.
How to Maintain a Weight Loss or Healthy Diet Plan at Restaurants
- Plan accordingly. Eat a small dinner at home if you consume a large lunch at a restaurant, for example, or eat a very low-calorie lunch if you know you are going out for dinner.
- Choose your cuisine carefully. The typical meal at an Italian restaurant provided 1,755 calories, according to the JAMA study, while the average Vietnamese restaurant meal has only about 922 calories.
- Be the first at your table to place a food order so that you will not be tempted by what others order. Ask for a small or medium portion.
- Pick from the menu instead of opting for the all-you-can-eat buffet.
- Start your meal with a salad or clear broth, which are filling and low in calories. Ask for dressing on the side and use only what you need.
- Rethink your drink. Sugary beverages add unnecessary calories. Drink water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or low-fat milk.
- Choose baked, steamed, grilled, or broiled entrees instead of fried or sautéed meats.
- Opt for dishes that include vegetables.
- Avoid food items that come with creamy sauces or gravies.
- Share your meal with another person or take home half of your food. Divvy up the food as soon as it arrives to prevent overeating.
- Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that your stomach is full, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- Choose fruit for dessert.