“Don't go out to eat hungry. If your last meal was more than 4-5 hours away, then you are more likely to overeat,” says Berry. “If you last meal was hours ago, try a snack a couple hours before like yogurt or fruit and a half ounce of raw nuts.”
This is a solid start to making smart restaurant choices, and here are a few more things to have in your head next time you go on a dinner date or out to eat with your girls:
- Order water. Zero calories AND it’s free! Water also has the ability to make you feel fuller and cause you to eat less at a meal.
- Get a to-go box and put half of your entrée in it before you start eating (or set it aside and put it in a box at the end of the meal).
- Keep your plate colorful! Mostly brown usually indicates that your meal is mostly carbs.
- Give a vegan or vegetarian restaurant a try (even if you’re an omnivore)!
- Have a healthy appetizer instead of an entrée.
And of course, if you follow healthy guidelines, allow yourself the occasional reward of something fried or salty. But who knows? Maybe you’ll end up preferring the healthy option if you give it a shot!
Sally Berry, Registered Dietician and founder of Bodyfuel, Inc.
Sharon M. Donovan, Registered Dietician, University of Illinois Faculty