No one stays home anymore. Where are we? We’re sitting in restaurants. On average, Americans dine out four times a week, according to the National Restaurant Association. As we eat out more and more, the percentage of obese people increases, while their wallets decrease. Unrestrained, this type of eating out is the perfect recipe for obesity and disease down the road.
So what’s the answer? Eat only steamed veggies? Refuse to dine out? On the contrary, you can dine out successfully and enjoy your experience by learning how to navigate any menu. Follow these guidelines to enjoy a healthy, satisfying meal anywhere, even when you’re watching calories.
Sit in a quiet spot
Nobody knows this, but people who sit in the more distracting parts of restaurants (by a window or in front of a TV) eat considerably more. Commotion makes it easy to lose track of how much you’re putting in your mouth. If you’re making a reservation, request a quiet table. If you walk in and are offered a table in a busier spot, ask for one away from the action.
Be the first to order
Beware of descriptions
Research shows that words that promote taste and texture or appeal to diners’ emotions can increase sales by 23 percent, and can even influence the way you think the food tastes. Words like these prep your taste buds to expect your chicken to taste juicy, so to some degree it probably will.
Enjoy (a bit of) alcohol
Practice the 3-bite rule
Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, and that’s it. Wave off the dessert cart. That said, you can also practice my three-bite rule with desserts, if you want to watch your calories more strictly.
If you truly want chocolate turtle cheesecake, go ahead and have it, but limit yourself to a taste. Take three bites and then set it aside for a few minutes. You’re less likely to come back to it. You might even discover that those few bites of a great dessert might be all you really wanted. You can’t possibly blow your diet big-time on three bites of anything.