How to Survive Dinner Out When You’re on a Diet

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | January 9, 2016 | Nutrition

I enjoy going out to eat – it’s my favorite thing with my family and friends!  But dining out isn’t always diet-friendly, so here are a few suggestions to keep your weight on track. With some simple strategies, preparation and a bit of discipline, dinner out or at a friend’s house can be an enjoyable experience – and you can still keep your healthy goals on track!  Here are a few ideas on how to strike a balance.  You can do it!

1. Pick and choose. When dinner is served, focus on veggie dishes, salads, and meats. Politely pass on anything that’s smothered in sauces, cream, or mayo. If you do decide to indulge in a rich entrée or a dessert, stick with a single, sensible portion.

2. Bring your own dish. If dinner is potluck, bring nutritious, diet‐friendly options such as a healthy vegetable dish, crudités platter, or fruit salad. This way you’ll have something “safe” to eat, and you’ll be sharing the gift of health! The recipes in my 10-Week Whole Body Plan include plenty of healthy side dishes that everyone will enjoy – start your free trial today and see what’s included!

3. Watch your hands. If there are munchies within your reach, be sure to have only a single small portion instead of repeatedly reaching for bowl. Hold a glass of water or carry a clutch purse with one hand so it’s harder to pig out.

4. Be careful with the cocktails. Alcoholic drinks can be loaded with calories and lower your inhibitions so you eat more. Have a glass of wine or a white wine spritzer ‐ half wine, half seltzer ‐ instead of a sugary cocktail.

5. Inform your friend. Sometimes we feel pressured to eat because we think friends will be insulted if we don’t. Before the dinner party, tell your host not to feel that way when you don’t try everything or ask for seconds. Let her know that you’re trying to slim down and not all her yummy dishes are on your menu.

6. Or keep quiet. Whether they do it consciously or not, some friends and relatives sabotage our best intentions to live a healthy life. And pressure from family and friends can actually work against you staying motivated and slim. If your host is that type, then don’t fill her in on your way of life. Instead think of a few things you can say, such as that you had a big or late lunch, when she pushes a fattening food on you. You can also politely take a serving and leave it on your plate. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

how to survive dinner out when on a diet - denise austin

7. Enjoy the company. The reason we gather with friends is to share their company and conversation, and in our go‐go‐go world spending time with loves ones is rare. Instead of focusing on food, pay extra attention to those around you. You won’t over indulge, and you’ll connect with others in a meaningful way.

8. Look before you eat. If the dinner is a buffet, survey the whole spread before you choose what you’ll eat. Also, use a small plate so you don’t overdo it.

9. Offer your assistance. Helping a friend prepare, serve, and do other things at dinner may keep you too busy to munch mindlessly. Plus, you’ll get a bit of exercise getting up and down or going back and forth to the kitchen.

10. Don’t go hungry. Some people starve themselves all day so they can eat what they want at a dinner, party or special occasion. The problem? You’ll be so hungry when you arrive at your friend’s home or restaurant that you’re likely to make poor food choices and leave with an aching tummy and loads of regret. Stick with healthy meals during the day and eat a filling snack right before you go. There are plenty of snack options and healthy meal suggestions in my Stop The Clock Nutrition Plan – check it out!!

11. Stay focused on your goals. When others around us are pigging out, it’s all too easy to throw in the towel and follow their lead. A study done at Vanderbilt University in Nashville found that, on average, women took in 696 calories when they ate with others compared with 476 when they dined alone. But that doesn’t mean you should shun social meals. Just remember that your goals are different from your friend’s. Just because a girlfriend is reaching for seconds ‐ or thirds ‐ doesn’t mean that you have to.

12. Think before you eat. Before diving into that decadent dessert, imagine how you’ll feel if you step on the scale and it’s gone up or hasn’t budged, or if your clothes are snug. Often the momentary pleasure is not worth the guilt you’ll feel later.

I hope these insights help you when you are dining out – you CAN enjoy yourself and lose weight!! A membership to can help too – I have fun workouts, a customizable meal plan that takes the guesswork out of eating healthy), mini-challenges and more!! A free trial is just a click away!

Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,


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