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HEALTHYJOE12 SparkPoints: (91)
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7/14/14 10:30 A

If the restaurant only has large portion sizes, try to share or eat half and save it for another meal. You can also try looking at the appetizers, they usually are smaller portions and can be a meal all by itself.

EGRAMMY Posts: 13,491
7/13/14 8:20 P

Be sure to take along one nutritionally sound eater. Surround yourself with the right people.

VICKYKAHN SparkPoints: (6,927)
Fitness Minutes: (6,409)
Posts: 12
7/13/14 12:33 P

I drink water when we go out to eat. Well, I drink water most if not all the time. Sometimes i have Hot Tea if I have a sore throat.

Also take a break when eating. Take a sip of water after every few bits of food. SLOW DOWN!! It will give your body time to tell your mind that you are full. When you go out to eat, enjoy! It is not a race. emoticon emoticon

TRIPLEMWF Posts: 906
7/11/14 10:34 A

I agree with checking the nutrition information before heading out to eat. Not always possible, but most chain restaurants these days do post their NI online.

Otherwise, be a pain when you go. Start your meal with a salad or a broth based soup. Order your food without added sauces, etc. And lastly, just becuase it's on your plate doesn't mean that you have to eat it, eat until you are full and then take the rest home with you.

SUGARSMOM2 SparkPoints: (250,072)
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Posts: 10,955
7/11/14 9:27 A

first just because it is on your plate you do not have to eat all of it . take it home for another meal another time . under no conditions should you over eat just to not risk upsetting another person . ask for a box to put it in right away .

TBIRB8 SparkPoints: (774)
Fitness Minutes: (126)
Posts: 15
7/8/14 8:05 P

I try and keep my dining to the local sushi place or vegetarian/vegan restaurant.
At both places I tend to get the same things which are lower in calories.

If I'm working one of my crazy shifts and there's very little open I'll get Subway. Sure, it's not exactly great for you but I know exactly what I'm going to get and I know what's in it calorie/nutrition wise through use of a calculator.

I'm lucky enough to live in an area where it's often reasonable to walk to where I'm dining so I typically do.

If I'm in a place I'm unsure of I'll often opt for a salad, a pureed soup and maybe seafood.
If I'm going to an event where I know I'm going to be wining and dining, indulging a bit, I eat very light prior to and try to fit some extra exercise in.

DIEGOGAL1 SparkPoints: (120,910)
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Posts: 1,946
7/8/14 12:05 P

Two tips, read the nutrition info before heading to the restaurant and second... Share the entree with a friend, my husband and I share.

MARYJOANNA Posts: 7,060
7/5/14 5:16 A

If you are craving ice cream, you can get a McDonald's kiddie cone for only 45 calories.

REDGIRL54 Posts: 255
7/4/14 10:36 A

We eat out about once a week. I can always find something healthy on the menu. Most of the time I eat a grilled chicken salad or something similar. I never tire of fresh fruits and veggies. I always use vinaigrette dressing and ask for the dressing on the side.

Happy Fourth of July! emoticon emoticon

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
7/3/14 11:19 A

Yes we have found that with the huge portion sizes, if we both are drawn to a certain entree then my husband and I can share it.

It's cheaper and he eats more than I do so it works out and we have plenty.

TINESTRAM SparkPoints: (20,927)
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Posts: 2
7/3/14 8:16 A

I'll repeat what others have said here: check the nutrition info for the restaurant if possible and plan accordingly, eat light during the day to save on calories, avoid the bread and other high-cal add-ons.

My wife and I have a great strategy for eating out: we order a single entree and share it. At places that come with free bread and/or salad (hello, East Side Mario's!) we can both have a full meal for very cheap. It doesn't really help you in this case, but it's something you can do some other time.

And if you've been good with sticking to your deficit for a long time, you could just relax and not worry overmuch about the one meal. As long as you don't go overboard, it's ok to go over every now and then.

DSTENORE Posts: 87
7/2/14 11:17 P

Refuse the bread basket. Order your salad with no dressing, ask for oil and lemon or vinegar cruets and drizzle on your salad for flavor. Try to order a protein w/veggies on the menu. Normally dining out is more calories, but try to enjoy - eat half only if it is a large portion. Typically, I will dine at a steakhouse and share a steak with my spouse. I start with a salad, no dressing theory above. Skip the dessert...

ROBBIEY SparkPoints: (432,515)
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Posts: 13,839
7/2/14 10:58 P

research menus online before you go and have your healthy options selected in advance.

CHARITYAK SparkPoints: (21,976)
Fitness Minutes: (16,996)
Posts: 771
7/2/14 8:01 P

I sit in the car and google the menu (if the restaurant has it online) and decide what I'm going to eat before i go in. Once I get inside with the social pressure happening and walking by all the patrons plates and smelling the food and looking at the pictures in the menu....gah! It's too much! So I don't even open the menu when they bring it to the table.

I have them hold cheeses, butters, gravies, salad dressings and other high calorie add-ons. I look for items that are steamed, broiled, grilled. I avoid white foods (potato, rice, bread).

If it's one of those restaurants that brings free chips/salsa, bread or something to snack on until your food comes, I hold my glass in both hands in front of me. If my hands are empty, I tend to mindlessly reach for the chips.

And to avoid dessert, keep a sugar free chocolate or one of those 100 calories goodies in the car. Knowing there's a treat in the car keeps me from ordering a dessert along with everyone else (and the craving usually passes by the time I get to the car and i don't eat the car goodie anyway). Another tip for avoiding dessert while everyone else has one, is to order a hot tea and nurse that along until they're done.

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
7/2/14 3:25 P

Honestly though get something you LIKE. I'd rather get something I like and take half of it home than pay a lot of money for something blah and eat the whole thing.

LEWIS314 SparkPoints: (19,274)
Fitness Minutes: (27,160)
Posts: 159
7/2/14 1:01 P

I normally choose a salad with the dressing on the side.

PRINCESS601 Posts: 748
7/2/14 11:59 A

emoticon emoticon I love this subject. Im always having a hard time trying to figure out what I am going to eat when I go out to a restaurant. What creative people you are. I will be going out soon for two appointments, so I know I will be eating out. I definitely will try some of these tips to keep on track. This year has been bad so far, some of it caused by eating the wrong foods at restaurants. This will help. Hugs to all.

Edited by: PRINCESS601 at: 7/2/2014 (12:00)
SOON2BSMALL1313 Posts: 857
7/2/14 11:15 A

I've really started just not eating the fries. Its a habit to get a regular hamburger and garden salad with ranch. So now I either as for the salad to be substituted or charge me for the fries but don't put them on my plate. Otherwise I munch and I don't want to. So portion what it is you like if you see the burger and its HUGE cut it in half. moderation is better than denying what you truly want

JASONV8 Posts: 805
6/28/14 7:17 P

I would say make up for by skipping lunch that day, or the very next day to neutralize the effect of eating more calories than you are accustomed to eating.

ONESPOTLEFT SparkPoints: (123,311)
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Posts: 3,340
6/27/14 9:54 P

avoid gravy or anything that might have cream, or butter

ask for salad dressing on the side even oil and vinegar

put your fork down and chew each bite and have a discussion

LNISDES SparkPoints: (20,031)
Fitness Minutes: (42,606)
Posts: 112
6/26/14 8:06 A

Thankfully, I love fish, so I usually order the fish of the day with no starch, double veg. If I have a cocktail I go with vodka with extra lime and soda water. If we are at a sandwich type restaurant (which I try to avoid!) I get a salad with dressing on the side and a cheeseburger, no bun. Some restaurants we go to offer a low-carb burger with iceberg lettuce as the "bun";, and if turkey burgers are an option I pick that. My other go-to is a salad with grilled shrimp, dressing on the side.

MARYJOANNA Posts: 7,060
6/25/14 5:14 A

First of all, I always order water to drink. You are able to drink 1 to 11/2 glasses while waiting for your food. Next, I always cut my sandwich in half and take the other half home. I never order fries always steamed veges or a salad. And of course, no dessert.

ERINAINE SparkPoints: (18,117)
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Posts: 17
6/24/14 2:21 P

I generally look up the menu and nutrition information online before I go and decide before I get there what I'm going to order...that way I'm not tempted by being overly hungry or the smell of the bread basket etc. When I have a busy day planned I keep a small insulated lunch sack in my car with a few healthy filling snacks (avocado slices, pre-measured nuts) etc to avoid getting in a situation where I'm starving and surrounded by fast food restaurants and I always have a large glass water bottle with me; getting dehydrated can often be mistaken for hunger. For the same reason, I always order a glass of water at restaurants and drink it as quickly as I can before starting to eat anything.

LIFENPROGRESS SparkPoints: (115,161)
Fitness Minutes: (18,343)
Posts: 4,287
6/24/14 1:50 P

I've found the EAT THIS NOT THAT Restaurant Guide to be extremely helpful. If we're going to a chain restaurant, I always try to look up the menu / nutritional values first to plan a 'safe' meal.

6/24/14 12:08 P

It's so hard to be good.
I keep Baker's semi-sweet chocolate around for after restaurant emergencies like a sugar jag. Friends also know what their facing & dial down on food that day with a couple of Slimfast shakes replacements.

Few restaurants have the combinations I like too.How many put Kale or spinach in salads, or have sweet potatoes with a filet of beef or chicken. Eating healthy is a challenge get but variety is a necissity.

INDIGOFIT SparkPoints: (2,911)
Fitness Minutes: (4,803)
Posts: 11
6/23/14 6:45 P

It's hard enough to not eat out when you're on the run and you don't want to cook in hot weather. I switched to eating side salads with lite dressing from French fries with a cheese burger and spring water instead of soda.

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
6/23/14 1:13 P

Yes, I agree with you on the dessert- if you look up the restaurant's nutrition facts beforehand (if available) and you look at the desserts.........sometimes those desserts are around 1,500 calories so you can already plan to have a small sweet snack ready at home instead.

BABYDOLL_87 SparkPoints: (48,770)
Fitness Minutes: (40,144)
Posts: 205
6/23/14 1:03 P

Ask for a to go container at the start of your meal and pack up half, salads with dressing on the side and no cheese, ask for no butter or oil when cooking your protein. I always always always scope out their websites too if they have nutritional info and pick a few options in advance. It also scares me out of ordering dessert seeing just how bad they are and eat a sweet when i get home. Good luck!

6/23/14 12:51 A

Ask for a doggie bag with meal. I wait until the food is delivered. Restaurant portions while satisfying go right to your butt. So eat half & take home half. It's a discipline! Save 1100 calories. I have some diet fudge bars in the freezer & smear organic peanut butter ( tsp.) on top for emergencies.... just saying

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
6/19/14 1:31 P

Yeah definitely avoid the soup if it's like Clam Chowder or Cheese Broccoli or something

For those calories, you'd might as well have something else. :)

ALIHIKES Posts: 4,505
6/18/14 7:56 P

There are several good options that have already been mentioned. You can also just order a salad and soup; or an appetizer and soup or salad. No one cares if that's what you choose to do!

DSTENORE Posts: 87
6/18/14 7:36 P

I like to start with a SALAD. (FYI: Soup is also good if it is NOT cream based). ALWAYS, always, ask for oil, lemon wedges and vinegar on the side. I never use a dressing that is pre-made since I have no idea how it is made, ie. sugars, oil, etc. I just ask for oil and vinegar on the side (not vinaigrette which is pre-made). I then control the amount of dressing I use. While olive oil is an excellent MUFA, it is high in calories so a few drops is all I use (no more than 1tsp). Decline fries, ask for other veggie options as most restaurants will sub. I often share a steak with my spouse, then I can cut my 3-4oz. Best to stick with restaurants that offer healthy options to begin with - steakhouses are usually a good choice because they have nice salads and you can take beef home. When they bring bread to the table, just DECLINE IT. Out of sight, out of mind!!! Dining out is challenging, it really truly tests your WILLPOWER and DESIRE TO SUCCEED. Good Luck.

MIAMOJO Posts: 72
6/17/14 8:47 P

As an appetizer, order a bowl of broth-based soup, such as minestrone. You'll be amazed at how much that will fill you up! Also, don't go to the restaurant ravenously hungry. Before you leave the house, have a hard-boiled egg and a celery stick. Claim to be much too full for desert, but order a decaf coffee so you have something to keep you busy. Or have a granita if it's on the menu -- it's ice flavored with juices and/or coffee. There is NOTHING like a restaurant menu -- and being with a group of people chowing down -- to sidetrack the best diet plan! Decide beforehand how important it is to you to stick to your program. Good luck!

ACHANSO Posts: 1,074
6/17/14 2:28 P

Yes. Limit yourself to one piece of the fresh baked Italian bread if possible---get fat free or light dressing on your salad if they have it---order an entree you actually WANT so that you don't feel deprived but do take half of it home in a box. You can finish the half or if your husband likes what you got, give it to him and then it doesn't go to waste but it also doesn't go to WAIST~ :)

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,764
6/17/14 2:01 P

take some home, I think they would only be offended if you threw out half of an expensive meal in front of them

KOALA_BEAR SparkPoints: (18,475)
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Posts: 1,172
6/15/14 10:39 P

If they bring an antipasto tray for the appetizer eat the veggies stay away from the salami. One or two olives won't ruin your diet.
Minestrone soup will fill you with lots of veggies, broth, and some pasta & beans. Try to get that rather than just a salad. If you can get that as the first course, you can then claim to already be full - you might be - and just pick at the rest. Ask for a doggie bag.

A nice Italian place should have a veal dish like veal piccata. Ask for a vegetable instead of pasta. If you do get pasta with it, ask for the red marinara sauce. they may also serve fish or perhaps a clam sauce with butter and white wine over pasta. Sounds rich but a little bit will go a long way especially after the soup & bread.

If they push dessert, a scoop of spumoni is way better calories wise than the tiramisu.

My friend has another trick - she orders an entrée she isn't really fond of so she doesn't eat as much, then just claims her stomach is a little off from nerves - it was a crazy day.

VUKELK Posts: 623
6/14/14 9:54 A

I rarely eat out. It's just easier to cook at home and then I know what I'm eating. But if I do, I just enjoy it because it's a rare occurrence.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,327
6/14/14 7:45 A

why would the people treating you be offended if you didn't finish the dish? did they invite you out on the condition that you clean your plate? did you have to submit to an average stomach capacity test before you were selected for this dinner so that they knew how much you could eat? odds are the people who invited you are invited you so that you could enjoy yourself, regardless of how much of your food you eat. if you ate a particularly small or large amount they might notice, but by notice i am talking barely register and won't remember tomorrow, kind of like what the waiter looked like. not finishing all your food at a restaurant is just as normal for some people as cleaning one's plate. maybe the bussers could tell you average plate consumption at the restaurant, but unless your hosts have brought 50 people there in the past six months and have been keeping score, they're not actually paying any attention to how much you eat except to make sure that you're enjoying it.
one other thing you can do is check for half portions or lunch portions. they're still not small, but they are half to two thirds the size of dinner portions.

GWINNER1 Posts: 4,967
6/14/14 12:36 A

Carrying a little notebook in your purse listing favorite restaurants that you frequent and healthy meals with nutritional info is a great idea!

LUVMAILLE SparkPoints: (5,476)
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Posts: 19
6/13/14 9:30 P

I often request half of my meal be boxed & brought with the check, when I order at a restaurant. I can't imagine anyone could be offended by trying to be smart & healthy!

I also have a pretty little note book that I carry around in my purse. In it I have every single restaurant that we frequent or would like to try one day listed in it. (just in case..) For each one I've done the research of what I CAN eat and included all the nutritional stats for each choice... so if it's on the menu but not in my book I know it's not going in my body! It also helps to keep control of those spontaneous dinners or lunches out that my husband likes to spring on me.. I used to think I was ordering smart only to find out once getting home and looking up the dishes that I blew my calories etc for the day... this way, that never happens. It's working out really well.

GENRE009 SparkPoints: (33,762)
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6/13/14 9:15 P

Online Now  • ))
I think that if you plan your other meals lighter, you will survive eating out. eating an egg white omelet is very low in calories, and having a salad with lots of vegetables, grain, cheese or protein & low calories dressing will help eating out. Either you don't plan, and plan to fail. or you plan to suceed. Good luck.

ANARIE Posts: 13,205
6/12/14 11:20 P

And don't worry about offending the people who invited you. They didn't cook it!

I can't recall ever noticing how much someone ate when I was treating them to a meal, unless they cleaned their plate completely. In that case I would assume they were still hungry and order something more for them. But if they only ate half or a third of a huge restaurant portion, I would just think they had a small-ish appetite. If it were bad, they wouldn't eat that much of it.

If the restaurant is casual enough so there's no problem getting a doggy bag, then there are multiple reasons to plan for that entree to be two or three servings. First, if you know from the very start that you're taking at least half of it home, there's no temptation to eat more than half. If you don't plan on taking it home, you might try to finish most of it even if you don't really want it. But just as importantly, if you know you're going to re-heat it, you'll order better. Fried foods, cream sauces, etc. do NOT warm up well. Grilled and baked things usually do. Thinking about eating the leftovers leads you into healthier choices.

BELLENGLISH Posts: 1,391
6/12/14 8:07 P

I think it is good to drink a glass of water before your meal, then eat some fruit or salad and then eat only half of your meal and take the rest home for the next day. If they do not have any low cal meals or substitutions order a child's plate. Hope this helps.

MOMNHB Posts: 254
6/12/14 1:17 P

I did look up their menu and alot of their dishes (just for one dish) are more than what my daily calorie intake is. But I think I found something that I can manage with. I will go and have a great time and use all of your tips. Thank You everyone!!

PARICARP SparkPoints: (15,779)
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Posts: 293
6/12/14 12:26 P

The advice before me is awesome. I'd also recommend starting the meal with the veggies (whether it's a salad w/ dressing on the side, or vegetables served with the main course). Put your fork down between bites and try and eat slower than the others at the table. They won't notice you're eating less/ slower and then you an get the leftovers to go!

I'd also avoid bread and pastas, since those are things you can eat at home, and don't have a lot of control over at restaurants.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
6/12/14 11:41 A

Buy the most expensive thing on the menu. :)

I'm only half joking -- stuff like expensive cuts of fish or beef will quite possibly be served in smaller portions than chicken or especially pasta. Avoid cream sauces (though you'll probably still get a lot of butter or oil), and go for vegetable sides (those you can ask to be served unsauced/unbuttered, for sure).

Limit yourself to a single slice of bread or a single roll and eat it slowly. When the salad course is offered ask for dressing on the side. Avoid dessert (or ask for something small and classy like a scoop of vanilla ice cream); have coffee to keep you occupied while others are eating.

And enjoy everything. Rich food well prepared makes for a nice treat.

Anyway, that's what I do; modify as suits you. I don't worry exactly about calories on such occasions, I just eat slowly, keep portions as small as I can manage, and avoid getting overfull -- once I'm full I'm done even if it means avoiding dessert, for instance. (Not that I'd likely have any dessert anyway to be honest.) If it winds up being twice as many calories as I'd normally have for dinner I'm ok with that, since it's so rare, but I really value the opportunity to make decent choices even in challenging situations.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
6/12/14 11:30 A

Do they have a website that lists their menu choices? Chains lists the nutrition - otherwise, you can kinda find comparable things online.

Obviously your best choices will be salad with grilled chicken, steak tips, dressing on the side, etc.

Worse case scenario?

A: You go, and have a fabulous time - and eat whatever you want and look at it like it truly is - a special occasion...a treat - not an every day, every week type of thing.

B: Doggy bag. Don't make a big deal out of it. Eat half, say to your hosts "Wow, that was utterly fantastic! I simply can't eat another bite, but I can't wait to enjoy it again at lunch tomorrow".

P.S. - you are gonna have these events come up in life - an anniversary party, a wedding reception, a graduation party, a birthday dinner celebration, a promotion dinner celebration, a retirement party. It's best to just simply go and have a great time, and not worry about eating an additional 500 calories that one special time.

ALIUHOHS SparkPoints: (2,079)
Fitness Minutes: (2,450)
Posts: 56
6/12/14 11:25 A

Is their menu available online? If so, browse it before hand and determine what the healthiest options are and whether you can make the meal healthier by asking the waiter to hold the heavy dressing/sauce/cheese/whatever. I know some of our fancier restaurants here are very understanding and will ask the chef to make the meal "lite" if you tell them you're watching what you eat or have dietary restrictions.

Also, plan to only eat half of what they give you and ask for a doggy bag. There's nothing wrong with not being able to finish what you ordered and taking it home for lunch tomorrow :)

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (202,123)
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Posts: 15,874
6/12/14 11:14 A

Doggy bag.

MOMNHB Posts: 254
6/12/14 10:59 A

We are going out to dinner tonight, out of town at a very nice Italian restaurant. The problem is all of their items are HUGE portions and very high cal, fat, etc.. Even their salads with all the extras they put in it are high. We are being treated to dinner and this is an expensive place and I don't want to order a dish and only eat 1/2 of it and risk offending the people who are treating us, but that seems to be the only option here. Any suggestions?

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