What To Avoid When Eating Out

Sunday, December 1, 2019

"I have been eating in healthy ways and still can not see any improvement to the numbers on the weight scale". How often have I heard this? Digging a little deeper, a common pattern emerges: eating out a lot. Does it mean one has to skip on dining out in order to keep weight goals? Not so fast. When eating out, even when you request healthy options, simply pay attention to some essential information. This is why I write this, as I decided to help others orient their food strategies without compromising on the outings with friends and/or loved ones. I am someone who loves dining out and don't want to stay home just because I have plans on remaining healthy or losing weight! You can lose weight and eat out at the same time. Read the following carefully as I will be pointing out common mistakes we have all made.


Mistake #1: Ordering very heavy dressing

One of the biggest mistakes lies within the fact of not knowing the nutritional value of the dressing that comes with the plate or the salad. You wouldn't believe how many times I’ve seen people fall into this trap. For instance, dressings can go from 0 to hundreds of calories. You see, a lime or lemon squeeze sauce has 0 calories, while a ranch sauce has more than 70 calories in a 15 g serving. A pesto vinaigrette has 100 calories per 15 g. You get the picture. Check the picture below to know more about dressings.

So long story short, be wary of the dressing you are ordering for your food. This doesn't mean you should avoid having any dressing. I myself am the biggest fan of dressings. I just make sure to choose the right ones that fit my macros. It is normal to want to add some flavor to your plate, but be aware of the calories, that's all, and the lower the calories in your dressing, the more you can add to your plate, which is what I do myself.

My favorite dressing is homemade, by myself. I use it for my salad and it is very healthy. Plus it roughly accounts for only 30 calories. How about that?

- 1 tsp of honey

- 2 tsp of apple vinegar

- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

- 2 tsp of mustard

To Know More About Dressings

Mistake #2: Not knowing the method of cooking

A second mistake lies within the fact of misunderstanding how the actual food was cooked. You should never be ashamed of asking the waiter or chef of the method of cooking. Sometimes the method is obvious: grilled for example is a very good option, and I definitely recommend to stay away from fried options. Nonetheless, sometimes you find misleading words which you don’t understand, such as sautéed, steamed, stir fried, etc. It is good to educate yourself about what is healthier and what is not. I understand one doesn't always have much time for this and it might not be necessary. Simply ask the chef and you would know for future times. For example, the picture below shows you the difference in calories when cooking ground lean beef with different methods.

Ground Beef Cooking Methods

Mistake #3: Starving yourself before dining out

One big mistake many of us make is that we barely eat on the day in which we plan to go out, so that they can increase the calories count while dining out. This is a big mistake because arriving super hungry for dinner will increase your cravings for unhealthy options and you will tend to overeat. And most importantly, you will build a very negative relationship with food once you do that. What I would recommend is eating a little less during that day if you want to go over the top a bit at the restaurant or stay 100% on track prior to going there.

Mistake #4: Knowing nothing about the restaurant you are dining in

This mistake occurs especially with people like myself who like to explore new places every now and then. But this could be harmful, especially that some restaurants offer only unhealthy options since they base their cooking methods around fried options. This could happen to any one of us. What I would recommend is to agree in advance with friends where you are going to dine. Check the restaurant on Zomato the day beforehand and have in mind what you might possibly order. This is a budgeting and nutritional trick at the same time!

Mistake #5: Not paying attention to drinkable calories

Similar to dressings, drinkable calories can be full of sugar and calories, which will lead to an increased calorie intake, without any additional benefit. In addition, you will tend to become hungrier later in the day since the consumption of sugar triggers hunger and food cravings.

Mistake #6: Eating oversized portions

As a rule of thumb, instead of estimating the portion size, just ask for it or ideally figure it out from the menu. Many restaurants will list it in their menu, which is ideal. If this is not the case, take time to ask the Chef and remember it is your right to make informed choices.


In the end, whether you decide to eat out or stay at home, by respecting some rules you can keep your goals and enjoy yourself.

Happy dining out!


Link to the cartoon here


Pierre, the Healthy Foodie

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