You’ve made the commitment to the medical weight loss process, and now you’re faced with the challenge of what to do when you dine out. Dining out takes away your control over what items will be on the menu and how they’ll be prepared. However, you can take several steps before, during and after your meal that can help you make choices that will support your medical weight loss goals.
Eat Now, For Later
Meal planning in advance gives you another way to control how the calories you consume when dining out will affect your overall medical weight loss plan. If you design your morning and afternoon meals and snacks around your intended dinner out, you’ll have an easier time balancing your calories and nutrients for the day. Plan on eating a healthy snack before you go to make sure you’re not overly hungry by the time you arrive at the restaurant.
Know Before You Go
If possible, find out what the menu options are before you dine out and decide what you’re going to order before you arrive. When you’re not surrounded by the aromas and presentations of foods that may not support your medical weight loss, you’re much more likely to make healthy choices. If you see a menu item they can modify to make it a better fit for your weight loss plan, you can ask ahead of time to make sure alternate preparation is possible.
Consider the Appetizer a Main Dish
Many main dishes have portion sizes that conflict with medical weight loss goals. If you select an appetizer, you’re likely to get a portion that better suits your caloric needs. If you want a bit more, consider adding a side salad to complete your meal.
Manage Your Meal
Ask for Modifications
If you don’t see exactly what you want on the menu, ask the server to make modifications. Getting vegetables steamed instead of fried, asking for salad dressing on the side, skipping the cheese or substituting marinara for the cream sauce are all ways of modifying menu choices to better suit your needs. Most restaurants want to keep your business, and they’ll work with you to get what you want.
Listen to Your Body
Listen to your body when eating out to make sure you don’t overeat. Eat slowly so that you can react and stop eating even before you start to feel full. Push the plate away and have some water. Ask for a to-go box right away so you’re not tempted to continue eating.
Celebrate and Enjoy
Medical weight loss is a process, and whether or not you eat exactly as planned when you eat out, congratulate yourself for the work you’ve been doing in your weight loss program. One meal will not make or break a diet, but sticking to your meal plan is a great way to build confidence with your food choices. Use each meal as an opportunity to listen to your body and eat according to your medical weight loss goals.