Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Lauren Beck
People can gain a lot of weight from eating out in restaurants. In fact, a study revealed that 29% of individuals already get at least one-fifths of their daily calories from meals that come from fast-food restaurants. Now that fast-food consumption increased rapidly, more people are at risk for conditions like obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease as compared to those who don’t eat fast food.
While fast food can be detrimental to your diet, it’s still possible for you to stay in line with your weight loss goals while you’re eating out in restaurants. You can enjoy the best of both worlds by practicing these healthy eating habits:
Look for low-carb food options
As previously mentioned, many people consume a large amount of calories when dining in restaurants. To avoid weight gain, you need to order low-carb food options when you’re eating out.
Some of the best low-carb fast food orders include lettuce-wrapped burgers or even bunless burgers. If you don’t want to eat burgers, you can opt for deli sandwiches with either ham or turkey instead.
You can also opt for salads that have healthy protein options, like chicken, salmon, shrimp, or beef. You can make your meals more delicious by pairing them with delicious and healthy broth-based soups, cauliflower rice, cottage cheese, or even Greek yogurt.
Choose healthier beverages
You can also reduce your calorie consumption by ordering healthier beverages in restaurants. Many beverages have high amounts of calories and sugar, making it critical for you to choose your drink carefully.
You can stay aligned with your weight loss goals by simply asking for a glass of water. Water can promote weight loss by increasing your feeling of fullness while still reducing your calorie intake.
However, if the thought of just drinking water is unappealing, then you can look to more flavorful beverages such as tea. Black, green, and herbal teas have zero calories as long as you don’t add ingredients like sugar and milk.
You can also order black coffee in restaurants or cafés because this drink has less than five calories and no fat.
Track the food that you eat
Despite choosing healthier drink and food options, you may still go overboard with ordering and end up consuming more than you need. However, you can keep yourself in control while eating out by tracking everything you consume.
Tracking your food is one of the behavioral changes that can lower your set point weight, which is where your body has a predisposition for a certain weight.
Research shows that this type of self-monitoring allows people to be more conscious about their appetite and eating patterns, thus allowing them to maintain their predisposition for a certain weight or even go lower than this set point.
Likewise, you’ll remember to practice healthy eating habits while dining outside, especially if you track your meals.
Assess the portions of your meals
Aside from tracking everything you’re ordering, you can also stay in line with your diet by eating healthy food portions. Following the right portion sizes can help you manage your intake of calories, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.
Unfortunately, restaurant portions are often larger than what you need to be satisfied. You can eat the right portion sizes for you when you’re dining out by choosing appetizers, small plates, tapas, or other food in smaller portions.
If you end up ordering a large meal, look to take home any leftovers rather than feeling that you need to eat them at the restaurant. You can also share your meal with your loved one or friend, so you’re not forced to eat more than you need.
You don’t have to break your diet whenever you eat in restaurants. You simply need to be mindful of what you’re ordering so that you can practice healthy eating habits wherever you go.