Willpower is the key to eating out at a restaurant. The temptations of a menu full of pastas, seasoned meats and chicken can make you lose control, and in a single night you can ruin weeks of "A plus" dieting behavior.
However, there is no need to despair. Here are some basic guidelines from the experts that are easy to follow and will let you enjoy yourself without feeling like an alien from outer space. Yes, it has been scientifically proven that women are most likely to give in to the delights of foods disguised as "the daily special" served by a handsome waiter.
According to a study done by the University of Texas, when women eat at restaurants, they consume between 200 and 300 calories more than they should, despite usually skipping dessert.
The study analyzed the eating habits of 46 women who were on a strict diet and 71 women who admitted to being "binge eaters."
Published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, the study concluded that "eating out frequently means losing control and binge eating, and involves an increase of 200 to 300 calories and 10 to 16 more grams of fat. In one year, this increase translates to gaining 12 extra pounds."
Based on these figures, study director Gayle Timmerman, together with a group of nutritionists, compiled a series of simple recommendations on how control overeating.Below are some of the most important tips:
- Pass on the bread. If this is not possible, choose whole wheat bread.
- You should know what you're going to eat before arriving at the restaurant. Your choice should include steamed vegetables, grilled fish, chicken or meat, and fruit. Experts agree that you should order before anyone else at the table, so you're not tempted by what other people get.
- If you choose pasta, always make sure it comes in a light tomato sauce without cream.
- When possible, avoid "all you can eat" restaurants because they entice you to overeat. It's easier to stay in control with only one dish rather than with an entire table full of temptations.
- If you want dessert, opt for a plate of fruit. Sorbet is also a good choice. Share your dessert with your dinner companion.
- Ask for dishes that are low in calories. Many restaurants, even fast food places, offer healthy options nowadays.
- If the portions are large, divide them in half before you start to eat, and immediately ask for a take-out box so you can take the rest home.
- Drink water with your meal. Drinking a glass of water before eating will help you feel fuller faster.
- If you need a condiment, pick mustard. It has fewer calories.
- After eating, propose going for a walk. This will avoid an accumulation of calories, and it aids the digestion process.
And most importantly, break the rule that says when you eat out, eat what you don't eat at home. Instead, the restaurant table should practically be an extension of your dinner table at home.
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