10 Tips On Eating Out With Friends While Dieting

dinner with friends
Image by: Lars Plougmann
By Tallulah Ray

I’m not the biggest fan of dieting. While I love the idea of eating right, sometimes I tend to splurge too much when I’m out with friends. I’ve always figured that dieting shouldn’t hinder me living my life but eating out is always a hassle.

“What should I eat?…What can I eat?…Oh, you’re getting a burger?…That looks so good…”

It’s especially hard when your friends have wonderfully fattening things like this:

Image by: Alberto Varela

And you’re stuck with this:

Image by: MShades

I firmly believe that dieting shouldn’t hinder you from living your life including spending quality time with your friends. So here are a few of my tips on dieting while going out to dinner with your friends:

#1) Know Before You Go Out

Know where you will be going beforehand, that way you can plan around it. You can also suggest places that serve food that you can eat on whatever diet you are on. Forgo the McDonalds and Taco Bell and go for a healthier restaurant (versus fast food).

#2) As Few Distractions As Possible

Believe it or not, the distractions around you affect how many calories you take in during a meal. If you are more distracted, the more calories you eat because you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating. Instead of sitting in the busy bar, why not ask to sit in a booth in the corner of the restaurant.

#3) Order First

I know that I used to base my decisions on what my friends would pick for dinner. So I learned that if I order first, I will be less likely to choose something fattening. You may also cause your friends to eat well if they see that you’re eating well also.

#4) Don’t Be Shy

Ask for substitutions, it’s okay. Ask to have a side salad instead of a baked potato. Ask if you can substitute oil instead of butter or other alterations. The chefs have seen this more of this than you think. Also…

#5) Get “Half Orders”

It’s an option that most people don’t realize. Often you can even pay only half as much (but that doesn’t always happen). The biggest problem with eating out (that I’ve found, at least) is that the portion sizes are too big. If you cut those portions in half, they aren’t as bad as they may seem.

#6) Forgo The Appetizers

Appetizers are normally deep-fried anyway. So instead of eating onion rings, drink a glass of water before your meal. It will help you stay hydrated and will also help fill your stomach and make you feel more full.

#7) Fancy Salads

If you choose a salad, you don’t have to pick a boring and dry side salad anymore. Of course, at the same time you will need to watch how many calories the new fancy salads have in them. Check the menus (most of them have calorie count on them now). If you can’t find it on the menu, check the website for the restaurant.

#8) Moderate Your Alcohol Intake

This is another big one. When I’m with friends, I have a tendency of drinking more. Not in a bad way of course, I just get distracted and before you know it I’ve got three beers under my belt. Alcohol has a tendency of adding up if you don’t pay attention.

#9) 3 Bite Rule For Desserts

I hold to a three bite rule when it comes to desserts. If I can’t eat it in three (regular) bites, then it’s too big and I shouldn’t have it.

#10) Tell Your Friends That You Are On A Diet

Diets shouldn’t be something that you’re ashamed of. If you are ashamed to tell your friends about the diet that you are on, then you probably shouldn’t be on that diet. It’s probably not good for you. If you’re on a diet that doesn’t allow for you to find anything that you can eat when you go out with your friends, then you probably shouldn’t be on that one either.

If you take anything from this list, I suggest that you take the “half order” tip and the “substitution” tip. If you can get a side salad instead of a baked potato or fries and get a half order of your entrée, you can pretty much eat anywhere.


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