By JJ Virgin
Dining out doesn’t mean you have to recklessly throw caution to the wind and order the triple-decker mushroom bacon cheeseburger with an avalanche of fries and a piece of cherry cheesecake for dessert that could realistically feed a small family.
At the same time, you needn’t be terrified that eating out will completely destroy your fast fat loss as long as you incorporate these nine strategies:
1. Mix and match. Survey the entire menu when you sit down. Let’s say you want salmon but it comes with garlic-cheddar risotto. The parmesan-encrusted filet, on the other hand, comes with sautéed spinach and garlic. Politely ask your server to switch sides. Make eating an adventure. Try a new veggie that you’d never cook at home: maybe you love squash, for instance, but never make zucchini.
2. Skip the monster salads. Start your meal with a salad topped with olive oil and vinegar. A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed people who ate a small salad ate less food during their subsequent meal. Bypass the loaded salads with carb and fat catastrophes like candied walnuts, bacon, taco strips, rice noodles, or wantons. Likewise, skip the sugary vinaigrettes and creamy dressings.
3. Beware of red flags. Any entrée described as breaded, fried, crunchy, crispy, glazed or creamy translates into a fast fat loss obstacle. Order your lean protein and non-starchy veggies grilled, baked, or broiled.
4. You know what assuming does… Ask your server questions before you order. Ignorance doesn’t cut it. If you fail to ask, and your chicken dish comes drowning in a syrupy glaze (even though your menu didn’t say so), you’re responsible if you eat it.
5. Don’t invite the enemy to the table. Banish the breadbasket before your server even sets it down. If you need something to munch on before your salad, ask for a small bowl of olives.
6. Double up. Two appetizers as your main course provide better portion control than a gigantic entrée. You might order hummus with veggies, for instance, alongside grilled chicken kabobs with salsa.
7. Share. So you’ve just got to try the 24-ounce bone-in ribeye. Share it with a friend who’s a faster eater than you and let him get the last bite. Your waistline and credit card will thank you.
8. Cut it in half. Split that enormous broccoli-garlic stuffed chicken breast in half and get it to go before you even dive in. You can use the extra protein in your wrap or salad tomorrow at lunch.
9. Three bites and fork down. Your dining date insists you must try the pistachio chocolate upside-down cake. Have three polite bites – we’re talking bites you would eat on Oprah, not during an 11 p.m. fridge raid – and ask your server to remove the fork. Trust me: other people at your table will have no problem finishing that cake.