When you sit down for a meal at a restaurant, there are a few cardinal rules you should follow. For starters: Say “No” to the breadbasket, begin your meal with a garden salad sans toppings and always ask if nutritional information is available.
But even though you start out in the right direction, one look at the list of mouth-watering adjectives on the menu’s pages may cause even the most resolved dieter to sign up for the fatty special of the day. Use the clean-eating knowledge you’ve gained from Oxygen and these top tips to fight restaurant diet killers.
1. Take your eyes off the pictures.
Generally speaking, the meals featured in full-color photos throughout a menu are generally the ones that are the worst for you, as their abundance of toppings and oily sheen are meant to speak directly to your growling tummy.
TIP: Focus on healthy staples, whether or not they come with a five-by-seven.
2. Don’t be afraid to modify.
The restaurant staff is there to help you, and as a customer you can ask to change each dish to suit your needs. Dressing on the side? No problem! Dry whole wheat bun instead of buttered white? Why of course!
TIP: If your plate comes to you without the changes you asked for, don’t be a wallflower: Politely point it out to your server, who will likely be more than happy to make up for his oversight.
3. Be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
A perfectly healthy meal can become a diet disaster in the time it travels from the cutting board to your table, so probe about food preparation ahead of time.
For example, even though you order the angelic-sounding egg white omelette, request that little or no oil be used in the pan. Grilled chicken sounds great, but find out if any calorie- or sodium-rich toppings are slathered on before it gets barbequed.
TIP: Being upfront about how your meal is prepared will go a long way in preventing any unnecessary fat from being added to your meal.
4. Never, ever waste food.
This may sound counterproductive when it comes to fat loss, but we aren’t asking you to lick your plate clean. Offer to split large entrées with your dining partner.
TIP: Immediately box half your food for tomorrow’s lunch or as an impromptu meal for your hubby.
If you have gone through the steps to ensure that your meal is as clean as can be, you will be able to save time and money by reissuing your leftovers as another delicious meal. Bon appétit!