More and more people are eating out than ever before. That wouldn’t be a problem, except for a few things. You have no way of knowing exactly what goes into each dish you’re ordering, and restaurants are noted for using lots of salt and fat to make their food taste better. A more recent problem is restaurants have been steadily increasing their portion sizes, and that means even more calories. While home-cooked fare can be more healthy, nobody is saying you should never eat out. Instead, it’s better to know how to keep from packing on the pounds when dining out.
Did you know restaurants will add butter or oil to some entrees just to make them look better? A pat of butter is often applied to meat when it’s done to give it a shiny finish. Grilled entrees may be brushed with oil before cooking to keep them from sticking, and again after cooking for that shiny look. That means you could be eating extra calories without even knowing about it. And if they use saturated fats (such as butter), then it can have a negative impact on your health as well. It’s also a common practice to add butter to steamed vegetables, largely for the same reasons.
Rubs and marinades often contain sugar, salt or oil in some combination. Those on low carbohydrate diets may be surprised to find out that their marinated chicken breast is hiding a tablespoon of sugar. Salt isn’t good for those with high blood pressure. Oils are the most calorie-dense and can add to your daily intake quickly. Vinegar marinades will usually be your best bet.
If you’re on a diet, then try to avoid cream sauces. These are usually made with heavy cream and loaded with extra calories. Even sauces that contain flour will usually have a lot of added fat, with the typical ratio being one tablespoon of fat to one tablespoon of flour for each cup of liquid. A better choice would be a vegetable based sauce, such as marinara.
Mixed drinks before dinner can be another source of extra calories. The trick is to order drinks that are mixed with plain soda water. Fruit juices add extra calories as they are mostly sugar. Of course you could always skip the pre-dinner cocktail and eliminate those calories completely. Water, coffee and tea are all calorie-free alternatives.
As mentioned earlier, portion sizes in restaurants are getting bigger. In fact they can be three to four times as much as the recommended serving sizes. For example, a serving of meat is only three ounces. But if you order a fifteen ounce steak, then you are having five times as much as you should. You can always see if somebody else at the table would like to share it with you. You may still have more than a serving, but you will be keeping it under control to some extent.
The main thing to remember is that eating out doesn’t have to mean gaining weight. As long as you know a few tips for losing weight when dining out, you can have a good time without feeling guilty about it.