How to Stick to Your Diet When Eating Out

One of the most common obstacles to many diet plans is eating out. At home, you can know exactly what ingredients go into your food, where they come from, and the way the meal is prepared. When dining out, most of these things are out of your control. All you can do is to pick the healthiest sounding item from the menu and hope for the best.

In the past few years, restaurant owners, just like other people, have begun to recognize the importance of healthy eating. Many of them should be lauded for their efforts of incorporating healthy options into their menus.

However, these dishes are usually very limited and quite frankly, some simply don't taste too good. If you don't make a careful choice, you could end up with a meal that you just can't enjoy.

There is one thing you can do however, especially if you are dining in a classy restaurant. Simply ask the chef about the ingredients and preparation of the dish you are interested in.

Some people might be too embarrassed to make such inquiries, but chefs actually love receiving feedback from the patrons. If you want some minor modifications to their dishes, many of them will be more than happy to oblige. After all, their first priority is always the satisfaction of their customers.

If you are still too shy to ask questions, you can just follow these simple tips the next time you dine out:

- Avoid fried dishes because these will naturally contain a lot of fats. Instead, opt for the grilled or broiled items.

- Many restaurants offer their entrees in servings that are larger than what is recommended in your diet. What you can do is order only half servings of the food that you like. If the restaurant does not allow this, you can ask them to separate the dish into two plates and share with your friend.

- Vegetable side dishes are definitely good, and they do taste delicious when fried and slathered with rich butter. However, this brings down their nutritional value considerably. It would be much better if you can order vegetables that are steamed and served with yogurt or fresh fruit toppings.

- Fresh vegetable salads are always good but you have to ask about the dressing, which can have high calorie content. Go for the low fat dressing every time and ask them to serve the dressing on the side as well. This way, you can easily regulate the amount of dressing you will use.

- Soups are also something you should consider carefully. Not all soups are created equally. For example, creamy soups contain much more calories than regular broths. Your best choice would be a bowl of hot vegetable soup.

- Most restaurant dishes come with fries that are rich in fats and sodium. You can request them to replace this with a serving of fresh fruit instead, or maybe a medium sized, unpeeled, baked potato.

- When ordering pasta, try to stick to those that come with a nice pesto sauce, instead of the Alfredo or other creamy sauces. These may taste marvelous but there is definitely nothing marvelous about the effect they will soon have on your thighs.

- Although Chinese food is notorious for being excessively oily, we still can't resist the great flavor of their dishes. The next time you're in a Chinese restaurant, order the steamed rather than fried rice. You should also stay away from the thick sauces, and order more vegetable-based dishes.

- As for the dessert, make a smart and healthy choice by ordering fresh fruit or sherbet. If the servings are on the large side, you can always share with your companion.

- When ordering from a fast food restaurant, you can't ask for half servings or special food preparations. What you can do is to take advantage of their healthier options like baked potatoes or fresh vegetable salads. You should also try to avoid super-sizing meals, unless you are planning to share with your friends.

If you follow the tips we mentioned, you can now enjoy dining out without having to put your healthy lifestyle on hold.