How to Eat Out

Written by Erica Paredes

When on a diet, it is always a dreadful thought to have to eat out, attend a dinner at someone else's home or go to a party.

But just because you are trying to change your eating habits and lose weight, it doesn't mean that you should be anti-social. In fact, you should openly tell all your friends that you are trying to lose weight so that they can help you out in the process with encouragement, and even prepare a few dishes that are in line with your healthy new lifestyle. Although eating out should be kept to a minimum when trying to lose weight, it does not have to be totally eliminated. Go out and enjoy yourself. Here's how:

Fill up on greens - When eating at a restaurant or party, head straight for the salad. Filling up on healthy vegetables will help curb your appetite for the fatty, calorie-laden choices. At most, you will probably want a small taste of it, which is not enough to ruin your appetite. So, enjoy what's on the table, but don't forget to get your salad in first.

Drink a lot of water - A glass of water before a meal will give the feeling of fullness so you won't eat as fast or as much. It helps prepare your stomach for your food intake and also aids with digestion if you have a warm glass of water after a meal.

Eat slowly - Eating is not a race, and the faster you eat, the more you will eat. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send the message that it is full. So if you pace yourself, especially at a party where food is in abundance, you will be able to keep your consumption to a healthy amount, instead of overeating.

Learn to eyeball your portions - You might weigh and measure when you are home, but you definitely can't do that when eating out or at a party. Remember that 3 oz of meat, fish or poultry is the size of a deck of cards, an ounce of bread is the size of a CD case, a cup of starch such as pasta or rice is size of a baseball, and 2 ounces of salad dressing is enough to fill a shot glass. Learning these portions will help you keep to your diet even when eating party or restaurant food. It might not be exactly as healthy as you would prepare at home, but it's better than pigging out with abandon.

Go window shopping around the buffet table - When faced with an overwhelming amount of food, it's better to circle the buffet to see what it is you really want, instead of randomly putting things on your plate. If something seems high in calories or fat, ask yourself if you really want it, and rearrange the rest of your meal accordingly. This way you can indulge on what you are really craving.

Socialize - Being the social butterfly of the night will keep you from just sitting there and picking on food. Talk to people, tell them about your diet and your mission to live a healthier lifestyle. Chances are, they will really be interested in hearing your story. Who knows, you might encourage someone to start living a healthier lifestyle as well!


Dr. Jean-Michel Cohen
is the founder of The Parisian Diet, which is about the pleasure of eating and being able to eat all types of food.

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