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Secrets of Dining Out on a Diet

So, you’re on a diet and you’re going out with friends . . . that means you’re cheating for a night, right? Not necessarily. If you know how to order at the restaurant, you’ll be able to stick to your diet and still enjoy a meal out on the town.

Try to be the first to order. You’ll be able to order what you want without worrying about being distracted by the double order of onion rings that your friend just asked for. It’s easier to stick to a light meal if you’re first.

Go for an appetizer with a side dish. Entrees are usually huge and far more than you’ll really want to eat. Unless you have the willpower to merely eat a portion and save the rest for home, you’ll be better off picking a smaller appetizer and a side dish such as a salad, to go with it.

Opt for dressings on the side. This gives you the chance to moderate the amount you eat. Keep in mind that restaurants want to give you as much value as possible, so they pile the dressings on. You can ask for them on the side, though, so you control how much you add.

Order water only. You’ll save money and calories by choosing water as your drink. Even if you decide to order something later, start with water to quench your thirst so you won’t be desperate to gulp down a giant cola later.

Replace chips with a salad. Any side dish that comes with an entrée should be able to be replaced with a salad. For example, if you don’t want fries or potato salad, you can just ask for a salad instead. Most restaurants are fine with minor changes like this.

Remember, you’re going to a restaurant where you will be paying for service, so making a few requests isn’t a big deal. As long as you’re nice about it, the waiters won’t mind at all. You’ll be able to enjoy being out with friends and still stick to your diet. Just remember not to go overboard with anything and skip dessert.

About Lora Mercado

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Lora C Mercado is a freelance writer and author of numerous cookbooks and books on other topics such as grief healing and poetry.

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