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10 Tips for Dining Out While on Your Fitness Journey

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

I’ve been focusing on diet for a reason (when I use the term diet I mean your source of fuel). I feel it’s a tad bit more important than exercising. From my experience with working to lose weight your diet has much more of an impact than working out. Make one aspect of fitness a habit first and then work on incorporating other parts of it.


Meal prepping makes it easier for you to stay on track. But, what do you do when you’re invited out and faced with the possibility of straying from your plan?


With Mother’s Day being today, restaurants will be packed. If you’re planning to celebrate a mother by going out for dinner this post is for you! Even if you’re not going out it’s still for you, lol. You’ll want to eventually dine out and skip the homemade meals. 

So, here we go! 10 tips on how to have continued success with weight loss while dining out.

Have a Hand in Picking Out the Restaurant


Not everybody is working on their health and fitness so you can’t expect people to consider your goals when it comes to dining out.


Being a part of the selection process helps to ensure that you’ll have a meal that you can enjoy without putting a wrench in your goals. Guide them to an option that has a variety for everybody. Be sure to pass on buffets. There are way too many unhealthy options to tempt you. Buffets can be a slippery slope. 

Check Out the Menu Prior to Going Out


Go in with your game plan so that you don’t stray. Know what you want so you won’t be tempted to look at the menu and opt for the foods that don’t fit your plan. Be ready.

Order First


There are a couple of reasons for this. Ordering first will keep you from hearing what others are having. This may cause you to make a snap decision and change the meal you’d planned to order before you got there. Ordering first will also keep you from looking over the menu, possibly resulting in a change of mind.

Don’t be Afraid to Build Your Own Meal


While working to lose weight and while maintaining I build my meal from the sides. Also, ask your server about substitutions. It’s your meal to eat. Just because the meal is set on the menu doesn’t mean they can’t alter it for your dietary needs. 


Skip the Liquor and Sugary Drinks


If you haven’t read How to Drink Alcohol and Maintain Fitness, check it out! This also means, sweet tea, lemonade, and regular sodas. I can’t say stay away from diet sodas as well because when I found out I could have Coke Zero I will opt for that when I want flavor.

Skip the Bread 


This one is so hard for me because I have always loved bread. Always. Restaurants love to serve you bread while you wait for your meal. I’d load up on the bread during conversation and by the time my food came out I’d be full and picking at my meal. This meant I wouldn’t have a full balanced meal and I was eating a bunch of carbs from the bread. As said in Eating 101what is not used for energy will be stored as fat. 

Start With a Salad


Watch for the hidden calories in dressings and order it on the side so that you can use your own portion size. It breaks my heart to have to tell you this but say no to cream-based dressings and opt for oil-based dressings such as vinaigrette. You should also consider this when making substitutions to your meal if it comes with a sauce.


Don’t Attempt to Clean Your Plate


We’ve all learned that a clean plate is a happy plate. It’s not and it’s definitely not in restaurants. Portion sizes are often times tripled. Half sizes are still more than a normal portion size. Eat slow and focus on chewing and you’ll see how much less you’ll eat. Save the rest for a second meal. 

Skip Dessert


If restaurant portion sizes are tripled imagine what the caloric content of the desserts there would be. Yep, oftentimes it’s more than your daily caloric needs. If there is fruit on the menu opt for that if you want something sweet. Dessert is not necessary for a meal so skip it.  This goes for appetizers too!

Remember Your Goals and Your Plan


At the beginning of your journey you determined your “why”. Don’t stray from it. It’s bigger than dining out. If you’re thinking ‘what will one meal do?’, please know that it can do a lot. Don’t set yourself back to the point where you’ve found yourself having to start over. Weeks of dedication or an unhealthy meal? For good measure and in case you are practicing Intermittent Fasting here is a bonus tip. 

Eat Beforehand


Have a light snack before dining out. Try not to wait until it’s time to break your fast at the restaurant. You don’t want to go hangry. There’s no telling how long the wait will be (especially on days like Mother’s Day). It may cause you to act on impulse and order an unhealthy meal or overeat.

See, you don’t have to skip dining out or feel forced to eat unhealthy when having a meal with friends and family! Give these tips a try and let me know how it goes for you. Leave a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so that you can get the latest post updates.

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