Dining out is big business. A 2016 Consumer Reports survey of more than 68,000 subscribers projected that Americans would spend $720 billion at restaurants in 2016 alone. That equates to nearly half of every food dollar spent in the United States.
Dining out is a great way to try new things, experience new cultures without traveling overseas and spend time with friends and family. But men and women who are dieting or trying to gain greater control over the foods they eat may be nervous about dining out. Many restaurants feature nutritious foods that won’t compromise dieters’ goals of eating healthy. Dieters concerned about veering off course when they dine out can take the following steps to stay on course.
Research menus before choosing a restaurant. Apps such as Grubhub and Seamless make it easier than ever for diners to explore menus before booking reservations. Diners can utilize such apps or their corresponding websites to peruse menus so they can rest easy knowing they will ultimately patronize restaurants that won’t compromise their commitments to eating healthy.
Order an appetizer instead of an entrée. Controlling portion sizes can help dieters lose weight and keep the weight off. But many restaurants understandably serve large portions in an effort to ensure their customers get enough to eat and don’t feel cheated when the bill is presented. Dieters worried about entrée portions and their ability to avoid the temptation to eat large portions can order exclusively from the appetizers menu. Appetizers are meant to be shared, so they should be filling when eaten by just one person. And many restaurants’ appetizers menus are just as varied as their entrée offerings.
Skip or split dessert. Few people have the time or ability to prepare restaurant-style desserts at home. That makes desserts even more special when dining out. However, dieters may want to skip dessert if the dessert offerings are limited to high-calorie, sugar-laden offerings. Dieters who simply must indulge in dessert can split desserts with fellow diners or opt for low-calorie fare such as fruit.
Dine out infrequently. Dieters can indulge in favorite foods or less healthy fare every now and then without feeling guilty. In fact, many dieting experts suggest the occasional indulgence as a motivator or reward for hard work. Diners who dine out infrequently can use their special nights out as their opportunities to indulge. Avoid overindulging, which can be both unhealthy and uncomfortable.
Dining out is incredibly popular, and diets don’t have to avoid their favorite restaurants.