6 Tips to Eat Healthy While Dining Out

Fork and knife cutting food

Dieting with a social life can feel impossible. 

As a social butterfly and foodie who loves restaurants and bars, navigating a healthy lifestyle can present challenges–If you’re not well prepared, that is (key word - “if”). 

As a holistic nutritionist for nearly 20 years, I have mastered the art of enjoying a social life while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Keep on reading for my secrets on how to eat healthy while dining out. 

Why Eating Out Can Be Problematic for Weight Loss

I love eating out as much as the next person. I don’t have to cook or spend time cleaning the kitchen. Plus, I can kick back, relax, and enjoy the experience. 

While there are many pros to eating out, I’d be lying if I said that dining out multiple times a week is a healthy habit. 

Eating out frequently actually contributes to weight gain if you’re not careful. Here’s why.

When you eat out: 

  • You can’t control ingredients - This leaves you at risk of eating refined added sugars, hydrogenated seed oils, enriched wheat products, gums, conventional dairy and wheat, refined salt, and other processed foods that contribute to inflammation and weight gain. The majority of restaurants use these ingredients, including the upscale ones.
  • Meals contain addictive ingredients - A lot of restaurants, fast food chains specifically, hire scientists to make their food addicting by using chemicals that over-stimulate the tastebuds, which is why you often crave this junky “food.” Plus, there are virtually no nutrients in these foods, so you’ll never actually be satisfied, making you want more and more. 
  • Portion sizes are way larger - The average portion size at a restaurant is way larger, so it’s a lot easier to eat more than you intended to. We have all been guilty of ordering with our eyes versus our stomachs at one point or another.
  • It’s expensive - Eating out often can be expensive. When eating out, you often pay a premium price for low-quality ingredients. 

Being aware of the potential downsides doesn't mean you have to give up eating out altogether. 

In fact, enjoying life includes enjoying being social at meals, and with a few simple hacks, you can do just that without compromising your goals.

How To Eat Out Without Compromising Your Weight Loss Goals

Yes–you can eat out and stay on track. So don’t worry, you don’t have to cancel on your best friend for her birthday or decline happy hour with your colleagues just to adhere to your diet.

Here are some simple tips and tricks to eat out like a pro: 

  • Start your morning right - Eat a healthy breakfast. If you know you’re going to be out on the town, that doesn’t mean you have to throw the entire day away with unhealthy choices. Start your day with a cold-pressed juice and some raw fruit in season. 
  • Plan ahead -  Plan ahead by mastering the menu. Most people know beforehand where they’re going to eat and luckily for you, menus can easily be found online these days. Before you even step into the restaurant you can strategize your meal choices in advance. 
  • Drink a green juice or smoothie - Greens are detoxifying, so if you’re going to be eating or drinking alcohol, make sure you have a green juice or smoothie the day of and when you get home to counteract the food and/or alcohol. Dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and collards flood your system with vitamins and minerals essential for detoxing. This also makes a great hangover prevention. 

Nutritionist Tip: Be sure to have your green juice or smoothie defrosted before you go out. 

  • Order sides of vegetables as your main - Order steamed vegetables as your main dish. These tend to be the cleaner options on the menu. Just make sure they’re not cooked in butter or any sort of oil. 
  • Create a salad - I know this sounds boring, but salads have saved me so many times. Get creative. Skip on the croutons and the icky salad dressings – Add some avocado, red onions, or olives. You can use olive oil and lemon for a delicious dressing. And if you eat any animal fats, you can add salmon or steak. 
  • Speak up - Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. Restaurants want you to enjoy your experience and will be happy to accommodate you and your dietary needs. They understand that dietary restrictions can impede on the experience better than  anyone, so speak up. 
  • Limit your alcohol consumption - It’s no secret that too much alcohol makes you feel awful– Hello hangover, we’ve all been there. Do your best to steer clear from beer and sugary mixers.  Your body (and waistline) will thank you if you stick to more clean alcohol like vodka or tequila. Have it with some seltzer and lime, or olives.  Limit yourself to one or two drinks maximum. Drink water in between drinks. And make sure to have a green juice when you get home.
  • Say no to soft drinks - Drinks like soda or iced tea are a waste of calories and chock full of sugar. Order a seltzer with lemon if you feel like you need a bubbly refreshment. 
  • Don’t give in to social pressure - We all have at least one friend who is the devil over our shoulder when on a diet. Real friends will understand your journey toward a healthier lifestyle. They won’t shame you or pressure you into eating unhealthily, especially if you don’t want to. This may be hard, but setting a proper boundary and saying things like, “No, I am sticking to my goals, but thanks anyway” is perfectly fine to say in these scenarios. 

Eating out while adhering to a health and wellness plan can often feel daunting. However, the Stay Skinny Method was created to be practical, so anyone can do it without derailing their health goals. 

Get More Tips With The Stay Skinny Method

Keep Losing Weight With Stay Skinny™

The Stay Skinny Method is an expert-designed approach to weight management and wellness that prioritizes sustainable habits over restrictive diets. 

It's designed to fit seamlessly into any busy lifestyle, offering practical tips and tricks for making healthier choices for the busy momma or the guy on the go. 

This method focuses on balance, nutrition, and a positive relationship with food, teaching you how to enjoy your meals without guilt or deprivation because we all know this never works. 

This simple program includes: 

  • A morning green juice to chase away cravings
  • A satisfying meal-replacement shake for lunch 
  • A delicious digestive shot before your biggest meal to enhance digestion and eliminate bloating

On top of this you’ll get practical nutritionist-designed resources like in-depth eating out guidelines, 38 simple and tasty recipes, and a healthy swaps guide that are a game changer for losing weight and keeping it off. 

The Stay Skinny Method is not just a diet, but a sustainable weight loss system that leads to long-term results. It’s a way of life that encourages you to stay healthy, happy, and confident in your body.

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Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

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