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Food and Nutrition

Eat Out and Lose Weight: Enara’s Tips for Dining Out

Stefania Maurtua | Nutrition Specialist
/ August 4, 2023
Friends sharing a meal | Eat Out and Lose Weight

Sticking to a weight loss program can seem challenging when you’re yearning for a meal at your favorite restaurant or eager to try the newest hot-spot in town. But fear not! It’s absolutely possible to eat out and lose weight without compromising on your favorite gastronomic experiences. By making smart and mindful choices, you can successfully balance the pleasure of dining out while staying committed to your weight loss journey.

One of the major obstacles faced while dining out is dealing with portion sizes, which are typically larger than the portions you’d serve yourself at home. There are several ways you can navigate this. For instance, consider asking for a half-portion. Sharing a dish with a friend is also a great strategy. Alternatively, as soon as your meal arrives, immediately pack half of it into a takeout box. Not only does this help you maintain portion control, but it also leaves you with a delicious meal for the next day.

Another crucial element to consider when dining out is the pace of your eating. It’s natural to get caught up in the excitement of a restaurant’s atmosphere and eat quickly. However, it’s important to remember to slow down. Eating slowly enhances the overall dining experience and can also help make you feel fuller faster. Be sure to take the time to chew your food, savor each bite, and engage in the conversation around the table. Turning your meal into a mindful and leisurely affair rather than a race can greatly aid your weight loss efforts.

Next, let’s talk about desserts. While on a weight loss journey, it’s normal to crave a sweet treat, especially when dining out. The key here is mindful indulgence. If you decide to enjoy a dessert, choose one that you truly love. Instead of consuming it quickly, savor each bite, relishing the flavors and textures. Sharing the dessert can also allow you to satisfy your sweet tooth without going overboard on your calorie intake. Remember, successful weight loss doesn’t mean complete deprivation. It’s about finding a balance and practicing moderation.

We all enjoy eating out with family and friends. Belore are some more tips you can follow to make healthier choices when eating out!

Eat Out and Lose Weight: General Tips

  • Take a look at the restaurant menu beforehand. That way you will know your options and will be able to make a decision without being in a hurry.
  • Let the restaurant know your dietary needs. Sometimes they will be able to suggest ways to meet your needs.
  • Try to avoid going to a buffet but order healthy choices from the menu instead.
  • On the day that you are planning to eat out, eat foods with less sodium in your other meals and snacks. Restaurant food is usually high in sodium.
  • Ask that no salt or less salt be added to your meal. If you are eating Asian food, use low sodium soy sauce instead.

Main Dishes

  • Choose grilled, steamed or baked fish, chicken (or any protein) instead of deep-fried.
  • Rotisserie chicken is also a good choice but remember to remove the skin.
  • Ask to leave off all butter, gravy, dressings, and sauces or order it on the side so you can control the portion size.
  • Make sure the restaurant does not use monosodium glutamate (MSG). While it may be considered generally safe in small amounts, MSG is a manufactured flavor enhancer and its presence may indicate that a dish might be more processed. Further, some individuals might experience symptoms like headaches, flushing, or even heart palpitations due to a sensitivity to MSG.

Side Dishes

  • Give priority to vegetables. You can order a salad or steamed veggies. Use a low calorie dressings like vinegars, limes, lemons or a low calorie option offered at the restaurant. Always ask for the dressing on the side.
  • If available, choose grains with high fiber content such as quinoa, farro, or barley.
  • Instead of french fries, choose baked potato. If you really want the fries, try sharing a small order with someone.


Choose water or unsweetened ice tea rather than a soft drink, lemonade, sweet tea, fruit punch or a milkshake.

Additional Resources

Dining out doesn’t have to compromise your weight loss goals. In fact, it’s entirely possible to eat out and lose weight while savoring your favorite foods. With a thoughtful approach towards portion control, mindful eating, and occasional indulgence, you can enjoy a vibrant social life. Remember, achieving a healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation, but about creating sustainable habits that celebrate the pleasures of good food and company. We hope you find these tips helpful. For more personalized guidance, don’t hesitate to consult with your Nutrition Specialist. As a member, you also have exclusive access to our in-depth eating out and restaurant guides, filled with additional tips and suggestions to make your dining out experiences even more rewarding and compatible with your weight loss journey.

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