We all love to eat out, but when you’re on your weight loss journey it can be difficult knowing how to keep the calories to a minimum while still enjoying yourself. Here we have a list of some great tips and tricks to help you avoid eating more when you eat out, so with this and Phen Caps you should be ready to take on the most persuasive waiter and firmly say “no” to whatever supersize deal, tempting side order or delicious dessert that comes your way!
1. Fancier Doesn’t Mean Healthier
Fast food is bad, so meals at fancy restaurants must be better for you, right? In fact, one study of 24 national chains showed that the average calorie count for main dishes is 867 calories, compared to 522 calories in the average fast-food main meal. If calorie counts aren’t available, ask the waiter about cooking methods and see if you can get sauces served on the side, or if you can swap the fries the dish usually comes with for a side salad. It’s these small changes which can really help reduce the calorie count.
2. ‘Medium’ Isn’t Really Medium
A ‘medium’ soda may actually be a large, as discovered by Duke University. It was discovered that some fast-food chains encourage their customers to buy larger soft drinks – which also justifies higher prices – by increasing the number of ounces in all sizes of drinks. This is because most people subconsciously choose the middle option without knowing how much they may contain. Even a ‘small’ coke at McDonald’s is already 2 servings of carbonated sugar!
3. Never Supersize
Since a medium is really pretty large already, supersizing your already calorific meal for more food isn’t really necessary. Supersizing may seem like too good an opportunity to miss, but it’s your waistline which really pays for the extra as a few cents buys you a whole load of extra calories. In the unlikely event you’re still hungry after a regular-sized meal, then waiting a while for the food to settle in your stomach will give your brain the chance to register if you’re full or not, and chances are you will be.
4. Remember, the Waiter is a Salesperson
A study found that diners were more likely to order extras like side dishes when verbally prompted to do so by a waiter. So, when your waiter asks if you want fries with that, it’s not because he wants to make you happy, it’s because part of his job is to fill up the cash register and empty out your wallet. Order what you want and be ready to say no to your waiter’s suggestions - remember, the customer is always right!
5. Don’t Treat Every Meal as a Celebration
Research has shown that people are less likely to make healthy restaurant choices if they feel they’re dining out for a ‘special occasion’. If eating out isn’t something you do very often then by all means, ordering something you really want and letting yourself relax a little on the calorie counting is fine. However, if you’re eating out several times a week then there’s nothing special here. Eat smart today as you’ll have to do it again tomorrow.
6. Drink Ice Water First
Thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger, which is one reason why dieters should stay hydrated. However, water also fuels your body’s fat burners; for 90 minutes after drinking 16 ounces of chilled water, adults saw their metabolism rise by 24 percent. So, not only will a cool drink of water quench your thirst and take the edge off your hunger, it also helps your body burn the food you’re about to eat more efficiently.
7. Take a Smaller Plate at the Buffet
Dinner plates have steadily increased in size over the years, along with our waistlines. So, it’s not surprise to hear that a study in 2008 showed that when offered two different-sized plates before a buffet, almost all of the group with the highest BMI took the larger plate. Piling your food onto a big plate tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating less, so by choosing the smaller plate you’ll convince your brain that you’re full on less food.
8. Cut Up Your Food
Japanese researchers recently found that slicing up your food into strips or chunks may help you eat less. Participants in the study who compared sliced and whole vegetables rated the sliced serving as much as 27 percent larger. The end result is that by cutting up your food, you trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating a larger portion of food, causing you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories.
9. Don’t Follow Their Lead
Eating out with those who opt for seconds or even thirds, plus sides and desserts doesn’t just affect their waistline, it also affects yours! Researchers have found that people eat 65% more food when their dining companion opts for seconds compared to when they eat with someone who doesn’t. Just being aware of this can help stop you from falling into the trap of ordering more too. Instead, opt for a cup of herbal tea or drink some water after you’ve finished for a calorie-free way to keep yourself busy while your dining companion continues to eat.
10. Go Elsewhere for Dessert
If you need a simple way to resist desserts, then you should pay for your meal and take a walk. Research found that taking a stroll can weaken cravings for sweet foods, like chocolate. In the study, regular candy-eaters refrained from eating chocolate for 3 days and then either took a 15-minute walk or stayed idle. Cravings dropped for those who took a walk but the ones who didn’t go anywhere experienced intensified cravings. It’s thought that the reason for this, is that exercise increases levels of feel-good hormones in the brain, reducing a desire for sweets. If you still feel hungry after a stroll then go ahead and indulge – at least you’ve earned it!
Is eating out a dieting nightmare for you or do you have a plan of your own to keep you on the straight and narrow? Let us know by commenting below!