Everyone likes to be pampered now and again, and eating out is no exception! It is a delightful social experience to take an evening out with your spouse, family, and/or friends, and the occassional night out should not be an obstacle to a successful weight loss plan! Here are a few tips to stay on your program while having a fun night out!

1. Choose a healthy restaurant.

Aim for a restaurant that specializes in a ‘pure’ variety of food – for example, sushi is an excellent choice. If fast food is more your style, Subway is known for its fresh ingredients. Avoid the places that are heavy on the meat & potatoes, or those where you can smell the oil before you round the corner.

2. Plan ahead of time.

If possible, choose your restaurant in advance, and check out their menu online. Many establishments indicate which meals are low fat or healthy choices, and some also have nutritional info online. Choose what you’re going to have, and stick with it!

3. Portion Control.

In our consumer society, many restaurants still gear towards making the customer feel that they’ve gotten the maximum bang for their buck. Unfortunately, that bang packs extra calories! Ask your server how big the portion you’ve ordered is, and if it is large, ask for half of the meal to be served and the other half to be packed up to take home. Do this in advance of receiving the meal at your table, such that the large portion on your plate is not a temptation to overeat. To get an idea of appropriate portions, have a look here.

4. How is your food being prepared?

Despite your best efforts to choose the healthiest item on the menu, your plans can be foiled in the restaurant’s kitchen. A salmon fillet is an excellent choice, but did you know that many restaurants will grill it with at least a tablespoon of butter to make it taste richer? That’s 130 cal of saturated fat – for a typical woman trying to lose weight, that butter is 10% of her advised caloric intake for the entire day! Don’t be afraid to be picky – ask for your meal to be prepared without, or with as little as possible, oil or butter. Entirely avoid anything that states ‘fried’, ‘sauteed’, or ‘battered’; instead, go for ‘baked’, ‘grilled’, or ‘broiled’.

5. Avoid drinking your calories

It is generally advised to eat your calories rather than drink them, as liquid calories are less satiating and leave you hungering for something else. For example, it is better to eat an orange than to drink a glass of orange juice. There are many hidden calories in beverages; that innocent after-dinner latte can easily be over 200 calories.

Dr. Sue © 2009 www.drsue.ca drsuetalks@gmail.com