Tips for dining out while losing weight

Tips for Dining Out While Losing Weight

Dining out can be a challenge when you’re trying to lose weight, as restaurant meals often come with larger portions and hidden calories. However, with mindful choices and planning, you can enjoy dining out while staying on track with your weight loss goals. This article offers practical tips to help you make healthier choices and navigate restaurant menus effectively.

1. Plan Ahead:

Before heading to a restaurant, take a look at the menu online if possible. This allows you to review healthier options and plan your meal in advance. Look for dishes that are grilled, steamed, or roasted, as these cooking methods tend to be lower in calories compared to fried or creamy dishes.

2. Choose Restaurants Wisely:

Opt for restaurants that offer a variety of nutritious options, such as salads, lean proteins, and vegetable-based dishes. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets or fast-food establishments, as these typically offer limited healthy choices and may encourage overeating.

3. Control Portions:

Restaurant portions are often much larger than what you would typically eat at home. To avoid overeating:

  • Share with Others: Split a main course with a dining companion or ask for a half-portion to control your portion size.
  • Box It Up: Immediately portion out half of your meal and ask for a takeout box before you start eating. This way, you can enjoy your meal without feeling pressured to finish everything on your plate.

4. Start with a Salad or Soup:

Beginning your meal with a salad or broth-based soup can help you feel fuller and consume fewer calories overall. Opt for salads with lean proteins (such as grilled chicken or shrimp) and dressings on the side. Choose clear soups like broth-based or vegetable soups over creamy options.

5. Watch Your Beverages:

Calories from beverages can add up quickly. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, or sparkling water with a splash of lemon or lime instead of sugary drinks or alcoholic beverages. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink and opt for lower-calorie options like light beer or a glass of wine.

6. Modify Your Order:

Don’t hesitate to ask for modifications to suit your dietary preferences and goals. Request grilled instead of fried items, ask for sauces and dressings on the side, or substitute high-calorie sides like fries with steamed vegetables or a side salad.

7. Be Mindful of Condiments and Sauces:

Many restaurant dishes are laden with sauces, dressings, or condiments that can add extra calories and fat. Choose options like salsa, vinaigrettes, or mustard over creamy or buttery sauces. Use condiments sparingly or ask for them on the side so you can control how much you use.

8. Focus on Lean Proteins and Vegetables:

Build your meal around lean protein sources such as grilled chicken, fish, or tofu. Pair it with steamed or roasted vegetables for a balanced and satisfying meal. Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables to increase fiber intake and promote satiety.

9. Practice Mindful Eating:

Take your time to savor each bite, chew thoroughly, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Pause between bites, put down your utensils, and engage in conversation to slow down your eating pace. This can help prevent overeating and allow you to enjoy your dining experience more fully.

10. Choose Desserts Wisely (or Skip Them):

If you decide to indulge in dessert, opt for lighter options such as fresh fruit, sorbet, or a small portion of a shared dessert. Alternatively, consider enjoying a cup of herbal tea or coffee to conclude your meal. Remember, it’s okay to skip dessert altogether if you’re satisfied with your meal.


Dining out can still be enjoyable and aligned with your weight loss goals with mindful planning and smart choices. By selecting restaurants wisely, controlling portions, choosing nutritious options, modifying your order, being mindful of condiments, focusing on lean proteins and vegetables, practicing mindful eating, and making thoughtful decisions about desserts and beverages, you can navigate restaurant menus successfully while maintaining a healthy eating plan. With these tips, you can make dining out a positive part of your weight loss journey without sacrificing your progress.