Top Tips for Dining out when on a Diet

Keep all ‘normal’ activities in your life while you are losing weight and you will successfully keep it off.

Dining out is one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, if you dine out a lot, you may want to consider incorporating some of the following tips into your lifestyle. If dining out is a rare event, forget the tips and just enjoy the night.

Never go out to dinner very hungry

A pre-dinner drink whets the appetite and when the bread basket arrives, you will polish it off.

Eat  normally  throughout the day  and before you go out to dinner, ensure you are fully hydrated (water) and keep your afternoon snack (3pm) for a later time (5pm)

Exercise on the day to earn calories for the night ahead

My weight-loss clients walk a 12k hillwalk on Saturday mornings earning from 500 calories to 1300 calories depending on weight and fitness. It is an early start (08.30am) but then they are done for the day. Alternatively, you can get an early evening gym session at around 5pm. Strength training temporarily raises your metabolic (calorie burning) rate and when you go out that night, you may be burning more calorie than normal.

Choose wisely from the menu

Ideally a lean protein on the plate with a large quantity of vegetables and a  flavoursome sauce

Tips for ordering on a Low Fat Food Plan

  1. No batter or breaded – choose  fish, lean meat, chicken breast, venison, fillet steak or bean dishes such as stews
  2. Ask for a double portion of vegetables – steamed with no butter added – instead of the mashed potato or chips.
  3. Choose 3 to 4 baby boiled potatoes  over mashed potato
  4. Ask for sauce to be on the side to be safe and eat less especially if it is creamy
  5. Tomato based sauces are ok. Dry style curries are full of flavour and have less calories Avoid sauce-drenched meals such as heavy curries and creamy sauces.
  6. Avoid pastry dishes (pies, pizza, beef wellington, quiche)
  7. If you love heavy carbohydrate dishes such as lasagne or pasta,  half the quantity on the plate (slip onto your dining partners plate) and order a large side salad
  8. Share a rice portion with your dining partner as the serving is usually 100g – way too much!
  9. Enjoy your main course and share a dessert if you like sweet after your meal. Skip the starter or vica versa
  10. Avoid deep fried and high-heat fried food – a source of trans-fats which are lethal for heart and blood vessel health
  11. Vegetarian dishes can be high in fat calories from cheese and in my experience oily  – they are not necessarily low calorie
  12. Omelettes are filling and lovely with a salad- ask for no butter added to your eggs – eggs are already rich in fats
  13. Eat slowly, put the knife and fork down often, enjoy every mouthful with no guilt. Food is a pleasure. The body loves good food.

 Tips for ordering on a Low Carb Food plan

  1. Ask for the bread basket to be removed from the table
  2. Enjoy a starter, it takes the edge off the appetite
  3. Any meat/chicken/fish dish combined with 3 servings of veg and a rich sauce is ideal
  4. Check if there is flour in the sauce as this is a carbohydrate but you can enjoy creamy sauces as fat is welcome on a low-carb plan
  5. Ask what vegetables are being served and choose the low-starch veg avoiding potatoes in all forms, parsnips, peas, turnip
  6. Avoid pastry and breadcrumbed wrapped meats/chicken/fish
  7. Avoid Italian pasta dishes but enjoy Indian curries minus the naam, rice and dahls (lentils)
  8. Fries are not good on any diet
  9. Have the burger minus the bun and wrap it in lettuce leaves filled with delicious mayo and sugar free relish
  10. Berries and whipped cream are the ideal dessert and dip your spoon in your fellow diners (at your table) dessert for a taste but only as long as it does not ignite your sugar cravings.
  11. Avoid deep fried and high-heat fried food – a source of trans-fats which are lethal for heart and blood vessel health
  12. Eat slowly, put the knife and fork down often, enjoy every mouthful with no guilt. Food is a pleasure. The body loves good food.

Try to get an early sitting

Going to bed on a full stomach is not a healthy habit and can disrupt sleep so try to get a earlier sitting and then get a stroll or better still a dance in before you go home. Dancing is amazingly effective at burning calories and a fun option.

Exercise the following day

If it all goes pear-shaped, burn the calories off the following day on a long walk, cycle or gym. If you had alcohol, the heart rate can be higher following an intake of alcohol so take a moderate rather than intensive approach to exercise (heart rate around 140-155)  and hydrate well to help the liver clear the alcohol.

Decide in advance on alcohol quantity/strategy

What have you got on the following day? If you have a hangover, this is likely to hold you back. Make plans to keep you in check

Alcohol is high in calorie. Wine and Beer are high in carb. A pint of lager 255, glass of wine 130, bottle of wine 530. Alcohol affects your level of exercise the following day as heart rate increases faster and it affects will power , mood and anxiety levels. Alcohol dehydrates therefore alternate water with alcohol throughout the night.

If you need motivation and help to lose weight, I offer a Low Carb and a Low Fat food programme and bundles of daily motivation. Get in touch. 

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