Most of us dine out just as much if not more frequently than we eat at home. It's often easier, more convenient, and an ordinary means of socialization.

In many instances, unhealthy options when dining out is cheaper, taste better (popular opinion), and are the bulk of what a restaurant has to offer. You don't have to eat a salad with no cheese, no croutons, no bacon, and dressing on the side to dine out healthily.

Ideally, dining out will no longer be an excuse for straying from your diet if you can implement some of the advice offered in the tips and tricks below to help you stay on track and make healthier choices!

8. Don't drink your calories

Soda, tea, and alcohol are all packed full of calories that could easily be saved if you just drank water instead. It'll also be a little more budget friendly! Additionally, try to drink at least one full glass of water before your meal to help prevent overeating and dehydration. Sometimes thirst is masked as feelings of hunger.

7. Plan in advance

Whether you're dining out for your first meal, last meal, or every meal for the day, be aware of what your goal caloric intake and the content of your diet for the day should be.

Take a look at the menu before you get there and be prepared to make the best decision based on your fitness and nutrition goals, as well as what they have to offer. This will also give you a heads up regarding affordability if you're budgeting.

6. Don't be afraid to ask questions

Don't hesitate to ask your server questions. If you want your burger without a bun, ask. If you'd like your dressing on the side or vegetables instead of rice, ask.

If you want to know the general nutritional content for the entree you plan to order, see if they can provide that information for you. Even if your request cannot be serviced, it never hurts to ask!

5. Dip don't pour

Ask for your dressings and condiments on the side. Dip the contents of your food into condiments and salad dressings rather than pouring it all over your meal.

This will help you with one, only eating or using what you need to satisfy your taste buds and two, limiting your intake of empty calories.

Empty calories are simply calories from food and food products that contain no nutrients, but definitely, count (if you're counting calories)!

4. Toppings are calories, too

Don't forget to include your toppings when calculating your caloric intake. Consider getting your entree with no cheese or your sandwich with mustard instead of mayonnaise. These calories can add up quickly.

3. Limit your indulgence in the freebies!

Sometimes when dining out, you'll be welcomed with free and often unlimited, peanuts, chips, and salsa, or bread and olive oil. Try to limit your indulgence or don't partake at all if you can help it. These freebies are full of empty calories and to be honest, hard only to eat a small amount of. Do your best to exercise self-control.

2. Get a to-go box immediately

Ask for a to-go box as soon as you get your meal and put half of it away before you even begin eating. This will help to avoid overeating and aid in portion control. Nine times out of ten, meals in restaurants are nowhere near an acceptable portion size and exceed nutrition recommendations.

1. Skip or split dessert

At the end of your meal, you can guarantee your server is going to ask, "anybody save room for dessert?" If you absolutely must have something sweet, split it or take half to go as a contributor towards another day's caloric intake.

Also, take a look to see if the restaurant offers any mini or single serving desserts as it's becoming more and more popular.

If you've saved enough calories and macronutrients for the day, or it's a cheat meal, indulge and enjoy! Sometimes you simply deserve it but remember not to reward yourself and your body in particular with food solely.


Image credit: pexels

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