Yes, yes, yes you can!
It may not be easy at first, but a little effort will go a long way in keeping you healthy while still allowing yourself the enjoyment of eating out. Some chain restaurants have implemented special dishes or menu sections featuring meals that are lower in calories, fat and sodium. Most fine restaurants will accommodate you if you wish to order a dish that is lighter.
These strategies will help you make better choices in the restaurant.
Challenge: All restaurants serve portions well in excess of a real portion, often up to 2,000 calories (a full day’s allowance!).
Solution: Share your meal with your partner or ask for a takeout container when your food arrives and put half away to bring home. If it isn’t on your plate, you are less likely to eat it.
Challenge: You don’t know what is in the dish.
Solution: Ask the waiter. If it contains cream sauce, Hollandaise or other rich, high-fat sauce, it can be eliminated or put on the side.
Challenge: How the dish is prepared. Fried foods are very high in fat.
Solution: Your best bets are grilled, broiled or baked meats, chicken and fish. Ask if vegetables are cooked in butter. Ask for steamed.
Challenge: Salad dressings are notoriously high in fat and often there is too much on the salad.
Solution: Ask for oil and vinegar based dressing and have it on the side.
Challenge: You are starved – you didn’t eat all day, saving your calories for dinner out.
Solution: this is a big mistake. More than 4 hours after your last meal, your glucose drops and your body calls for food. When you are very hungry, you will eat fast and too much, before registering that you are full. Have a snack if it will be more than 4 hours between your meals. A small fruit should hold you. And eat s-l-o-w-l-y.
If you use these few strategies, you will consume fewer calories and fat and can eat out without guilt.