You want to go and enjoy that meal out, but where do you go where the calories won't ruin your waistline? better still, what choices are best in your favourite restaurant?
So is it possible to enjoy restaurant food and still have any hope of weight loss? Does being on a diet mean that you need to sit in every night nibbling carrots? Well it depends on the kind of restaurant food you want to eat.
It's really quite difficult to achieve any kind of weight loss if you're eating in a fast food restaurant or having takeaways more than twice a week. Primarily this is down to fast food being high in fat and salt content, whilst low in nutritional value and non-existent on the fresh vegetable count.
Just one meal in your typical burger bar (burger, chips, side dish or pudding and soft drink) is likely to provide you with more calories than you need for the whole day. Unfortunately, it also isn't go to provide you with the nutrients your body needs either!
Another big problem is the size of the portions that are served. In an attempt to encourage customers to consume more, many establishments pile up the plates far beyond what you actually need. They feel they need to do this in order that you think you're getting a good deal for your money.
In a word, yes.
In most restaurants you will be able to choose healthy options to ensure you steer well clear of high fat or high sugar foods. See some great ideas in the next section.
Depending on which type of food you like to eat out, there will undoubtedly be some exceptions where there are very few options open to you. For example in McDonalds, you will need to steer clear of the chips and burgers and look at the salads to have a hope of keeping those calories down.
If you want to eat out, why not take 10 minutes to research the calorie content of different types of meals. Then if you are in a sit down restaurant, break through the psychological barrier and don't feel guilty about not eating everything that's put in front of you!
There are some great simple ways to cut down on the fat and calories in takeaways or restaurant food. Follow some simple rules and you can easily half the amount of calories you take on.
Do eat a spicy tomato dish with boiled rice
Avoid creamy curries with pilau or coconut rice.
Why : You could save more than 50g in fat and 400 calories if you do (avoid the 4 pints of beer to save a further 600 calories!)
Do eat the soup for starters, a chicken or beef and black bean main and of course, boiled rice!
Avoid the deep fat fried foods, prawn crackers and egg fried rice.
Why : You could save more than 75g in fat and a whopping 900 calories in one meal. The fired food is definitely the part to avoid.
Opt for chicken or tomato dishes without cheese and try to avoid the red meat or processed meats (salami, pepperoni). Always go for a thin crust.
Never have the deep pan or stuffed crust (lots of dough and therefore carbs, cheese and therefore fat), avoid lasagne and also reduce the cheese.
Why : You'll save more than 70g of fat and 750 calories - most of which is in that deep pan and stuffed crust!
Eating out is a treat and something to look forward to. Unless you are eating out 2 or 3 times a week it's easy enough to forget how many calories can be consumed, especially if you are drinking alcohol at the same meal.
We've provided some very simple examples of ways that you can keep the calories to a minimum, whilst not having to compromise on sitting there with just a salad.
If course if you are on a strict weight loss diet plan, eating out will have to be very carefully thought through as would any drink with the meal.