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Rule 1: Get ready for the dining out experience.
Chances are you were quite aware of the fact that you’d be entering temptation zone at some point in your day. And like everything else, knowing is half the battle won. Since you’re expecting a restaurant meal, practise careful calorie allotment by eating low calorie meals till then. So skip that biryani or rice for lunch. Don’t drink that cola. Don’t eat that tea time cookie. Be good. You’ll get plenty rewards come restaurant time.
Rule 2: If visiting your favourite restaurant – anticipate your order.
Surprisingly, when we decide what we want to eat from the restaurant we visit, we tend to ignore temptation for anything else.
Rule 3: Ask questions about dishes you haven’t eaten earlier.
Don’t be shy about scrutinising the menu. If you order dishes just because they sound fancy, you’re likely to be shocked when your order arrives floating in cream cheese and butter. No matter how sophisticated the restaurant, there is no harm in asking the person waiting on you to explain each dish.
Rule 4: A bit harsh, this rule is about dishes you’re allowed to eat only if you exercise regularly.
Avoid all cheese-based dishes and a la mode (with ice cream) dishes if you’re on a strict weight loss diet. Avoid dishes with words like pan-fried, fried and creamed.
Rule 5: Focus on foods you can eat without feeling guilt.
Thankfully almost all restaurants serve whole wheat, skinless, steamed or roasted options these days. One can practise calorie control without compromising on taste and adventure. Look for dishes that are described with healthy cooking methods, ingredients and types. Steamed, broiled, grilled, roasted, stir-fried…it’s all good. Focus on light appetisers, as this is where most of the damage is done. Soups should be broth-based and starters should be easy on oil and salt, and definitely not fried. Desserts don’t need to be high on calories either. For instance, sorbets and stewed or roasted fresh fruits, topped with light cream and yoghurt can be quite delicious.
Rule 6: There’s no harm in being a brat about food you’re paying for.
If you’ve ever dined with someone who’s successfully managed their weight, you’ll notice these peculiarities – they’ll ask for butter and cheese to be removed from the table. They’ll request that the salad dressing be brought on the side. They’ll always ask the waiter what each dish contains and how it is cooked. They’ll request that the dish be made with less salt, less oil, and no cream or butter. They’ll request for skinless, lean cuts, steamed not fried. They’ll usually order salad dressings that are lemon, vinegar or extra virgin olive oil based. They avoid diet traps like mayo, grated cheese, and whipped cream. Granted these are slightly psychotic people in everyday life, but trust us when we say – they’re ordering their cake and eating it too. Follow them.
Rule 7: Water always saves the day.
Forget what your mother said about waiting till the end of the meal for that glass of water. Drinking water before and during meals is a great way to cheat your stomach into thinking that it’s had enough. What’s more you’re not really cheating it, are you? If you feel full, chances are you actually are full. Satisfied. Done. And Ready to go home.
Eating out at a restaurant can either be a diet trap, or a wonderful break from everyday dieting monotony. If you master these rules of eating healthy at a restaurant, then you’ll find that nothing will get in the way of your BigLoser weight loss resolution.