My Top 6 Dining Out Tips

Don't let holiday parties and work events throw off your healthy routine! Stick to your plan with these tips.

Even the most determined dieter can get sidetracked by the holidays. All of the invites to get drinks or dine out with friends, family or coworkers for lunch or dinner can be really challenging — especially when you’ve been diligent about tracking every bite you’ve been taking for months. Believe it or not, sticking to your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of fearing eating out or heading to a bar, arm yourself with a plan. Here are my top six dining-out tactics:

Plan ahead. Look at the menu online BEFORE you get to the restaurant. Deciding on a healthy — and satisfying — dish in advance will prevent you from getting side tracked when you see a burger and fries listed. Choose your order, make it healthy, and stick to it.

Don’t go starving. If you know you’re going to a restaurant, reception, or party where there will be a lot of unhealthy foods, have a snack beforehand so you’re not starving. You’ll be able to resist those trigger foods with a little bit of food in your stomach!

Try these restaurant-worthy recipes!

Educate yourself. Don't be afraid to ask your server lots of questions about the restaurant's food so that you can make healthy choices. Ask what's used in the preparation, how large the portion is, what comes on the side — these are all things you want to know now that you are eating right..........

Make substitutions. I'm always ordering chicken fajitas, but instead of the Mexican rice and refried beans, I ask for a salad on the side. Ask for grilled vegetables instead of a baked potato or french fries, sliced tomatoes or fruit instead of hash browns. You get the idea — this stuff will take a little extra thought at first, but in no time it will become second nature.

Make modifications. If you have scoured the menu and there are no healthy options, you can usually create your own by requesting a few modifications to the preparation of your food. Ask if you can have your fish grilled instead of breaded; ask if you can have Dijon mustard sauce on the chicken instead of cream sauce; request salad dressing on the side or ask for olive oil and balsamic vinegar; ask for the chef to use just a small amount of olive oil.

Skip the alcohol. Alcohol is your worst enemy if you’re trying to lose weight. It has a lot of calories for little to no nutritional value, and if you overindulge, you might end up bingeing on foods you shouldn’t be eating. Do yourself a favor and set your drink limit when you get to dinner. Better yet, volunteer to be the designated driver so you don’t have to explain why you aren’t drinking. If not, have a glass of water between drinks, and keep your drinks low-cal, like a vodka and club soda or a glass of white wine.

Bon appetite!

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