6 Ways to Lose Weight with Restaurant Food

6-Ways-to-Lose-Weight-with-Restaurant-FoodAccording to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1970, 26 percent of all food spending was on food away from home, but by 2005 that number had climbed to 41 percent.

It’s now 2012, so even despite – and maybe because of the bad economy – the percentage will have risen again. Who hasn’t been tempted to go through the drive through line and get something dubious in a box for a couple of bucks, rather than spending an extra few minutes preparing a healthy breakfast or brown bag lunch?

If you do eat out regularly and you’re trying to control your weight the following six tips should help you stick to a calorie-controlled diet.

Go Online First
Some restaurants post their menus on their websites and may include the calorie count for each item. There’s a suggestion that these calories may be underestimated, so check and add a few extra just in case.  Decide what you’re going to eat before you get there and stick to what you know is going to be within your calorie budget. Disregard what everyone else orders, despite the mouthwatering descriptions.  You’re also allowed to feel a little smug when other overweight people in your party order all the wrong things!

Forget the Fried Sides
Most restaurants will be quite accommodating if you want to swap the compulsory fries or baked potato for a salad, even though it may cost a little extra.  See what vegetables they serve on the side or ask if there are other types of vegetables you enjoy that are usually served with an entrée but are not on the list.

Look for Steamed, Grilled or Broiled
Meat, fish or vegetables that are steamed, grilled or broiled will contain fewer calories than those that have been fried or slathered in a rich sauce. Order any sauce or butter on the side and ask for naked steamed veggies.

Don’t Starve Yourself all Day
If you know you’re going out for lunch or dinner, don’t skip the previous meal because you think you’ll be okay eating a big restaurant meal to make up for it. Just eat less at the previous meal. If you starve yourself you will arrive hungry and doubtless go for things you shouldn’t be eating.  If it’s a buffet restaurant take small portions. Always eat slowly and savor what you have. This is not the last meal you’ll ever eat!

Ask for Water
You will cut out a lot of calories (and quite a lot of the total bill) if you stick to water or tea.  Drinking water with a meal won’t add any calories and will help you feel full.

Finish your meal with a cup of black coffee or tea instead of ordering a fat-filled dessert. I know it’s hard, but as long as you have something in front of you, you won’t be tempted to order a dessert while everyone else packs down their pie or cake.

Get it to Go
If the restaurant is unfamiliar, take a good look at what other people are eating when you arrive.  If the portions are enormous, ask the waiter to put half of your food in a to go container before you eat.  It’s weird but they’ll do it.  That way you won’t be tempted to clear your plate and regret it later.

Take a good look at the starters that are being served.  Often they’re as big as an entrée and if you ask for a side of steamed veggies as well, it’s as good as a full meal – with many fewer calories. Have it served as your main course, so you don’t end up sitting staring at everyone else’s entrées. You could have a cocktail or glass of wine while everyone else is eating their starter, but drink water with the rest of the meal.

It takes a lot of self-control and a little planning, but if you follow these six tips you should be able to dine out frequently without putting on loads of unwanted pounds.

Have you lost weight with restaurant food? What were your results? How do you feel about it? Share your thoughts with us!



  1. Kenneth Lee says:

    Just mind blowing…losing weight with restaurant food was never so easy, but the post is really convincing. So, next time when you are off to a restaurant for a dinner, just remember the 6 ways to lose weight with restaurant food and you will surely cut off all the extra calories from your food.

  2. If you’re going to eat out, then these tips will come in very handy, but the best thing to do is not eating restaurant foods in the first place. My opinion is that no matter how expensive the menu, restaurant foods can never be as healthy as a home cooked meal. When you cook your own meal you have control over all the ingredients and as well as the serving size, so there’s a lot that you can do to eat healthy. You’ll give yourself much better options with the tips here, but it’s still not as healthy as eating at home.

  3. Some restaurants serve portions that are way too big and if that is the case, and they will not serve you a half, ask for a to go box right away, that way you can box half up right away and you are only left with half the dish to enjoy. This will cut down on calories and leave you something to eat later.

  4. I am weight-loss .. and If I should pick a restaurant to eat out now .. I would choose the SubWay … they have nice salads .. you can choose what to add and what not .. and they are almost fat free ..

  5. marc anthony says:

    Amazing article given here. It’s a fact that we often inclined for fried food and junk foods which is not actually good for us. We can change our food habits as shown here. Again drinking lots of water is key to good health.

  6. If you want to lose weight it’s best that you avoid restaurant food altogether, but if you can’t avoid it then the tips here should come in very handy. For example by opting to drink water, bypassing dessert, and doggie bagging half of the serving, you are carving out more than half of the total calories right there. If you can stick to some of these simple tips, you can actually lose a fair amount of weight overtime.

  7. Going online first to check out the menu before you go a restaurant is a good idea. I don’t think all the restaurants offer up to date and in depth information about all their menus, but I do know that one of our local restaurants in town has an excellent website. I just never thought of doing the research that’s necessary to choose a healthy meal, but if you want to lose weight watching what you eat is a must. Thanks for the nice tip~

  8. ‘Getting It To Go” seems like a really smart tip actually because you’ll order a couple of appetizers just waiting for your main course to hit your table. At least with ordering it to go, you won’t have to worry about over spending and over eating.

  9. I tried the drinking water tip, and it really works. I would order about 2 glasses of water and drink one before my food arrived and drink the other while I was eating and 98% of the time I wouldn’t fully make it through my meal before I was asking for a to-go plate. Amazing tips, plus water is free!

  10. Scott Campbell says:

    Our body needs low calorie but at the same time healthy diet. The calorie intake must be sufficient to meet the requirement of our body or else the body will surely get weaker. Obviously, fried and junk food must be discontinued for losing weight but if a little exercise along with these six simple to follow tips for losing weight is included in our daily routine, it will be like “an icing on the cake” and turn out to be fruitful.

  11. Drinking water with your meal helps tremendously, this is s a great tip. Plus since most restaurants charge $2 or more for tea it’s a win win!

  12. This made me remember the news awhile back about the subway sandwich diet. I was amazed by that but, nowadays, many restaurants are really doing their share in providing healthy food. People are getting more and more health conscious so restaurants are adapting to that too. And I totally agree with drinking water. I have a friend who lost 50 pounds because he always drinks 2 glasses of water before meals. Eating healthy and in moderation is key be it home cooked or restaurant food.

  13. Jessica Vega says:

    I had a problem with “starving” myself and then loading up on “fried side items” I really like these tips because they’re do-able and they make sense. Like I would have never thought of asking for water when I go out to eat… Thanks Ideal Bite’s for the awesome tips, Keep em’ coming!

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