Tips for Eating Out

I don’t know about you, but I really struggle loosing weight while eating out. I have found that I can’t eat out more than once a week and still loose weight. This presents a big problem since my hubby and I are completly boring and our only hobby is eating out and going to the movies. I’ve tried finding places to go that are healthier, but it seems every time I’m choosing the healthier option on the menu I might as well have had a burger because the calorie count is the same.

I found this article on Yahoo news about eating out and staying within your calorie count. I don’t like to copy and paste articles to a blog, but this one is worth it.

A recent study from the University of Arkansas says a mouthful: The average diner underestimates his or her calorie count by up to 93 percent when eating out. So every time you step through a restaurant door, you may be consuming twice what you bargained for. And that’s bad news for all of us: This year American’s will spend $500 billion — half of our total food dollars — eating out. It’s a double-dip disaster: More meals out, more calories consumed, more trouble from expanding waistlines.

I should know. During a single day recently I visited three big chain restaurants, ordered normally, and demonstrated how you can easily consume a whopping 6,000 calories — three times the recommended total. No, I didn’t eat a mountain of onion rings or a whole extra-large pizza. In fact, I didn’t even have snacks or dessert — just three square meals, including a bran muffin, a burrito, and a salad. It’s the way millions of Americans eat all the time, thinking they’re doing pretty well.
The good news is you can eat on the run — helping yourself to a lot of delicious food — and still lose weight. You just need a strong sense of determination and a wary eye for the the food traps. Start now by making smart choices like those shown here, and you’ll be much skinnier by summer!

Breakfast Sandwich
Eat This!

Ham, Egg & Cheese English Muffin Sandwich:
310 calories
10 g fat (5 g saturated)
Not That!
Multigrain Bagel with Lite Cream Cheese
530 calories
17 g fat

Many readers have indicated that breakfast is one of the most misunderstood meals of the day. So let’s say it once and for all: Bagels are bogus. Doesn’t matter if they’re made from multigrain and slathered with the lightest cream cheese in the world. A study from St. Louis University found that people who started their days with eggs consumed 264 fewer calories over the course of a day than those who started with bagels and cream cheese. (That’s 1,800 calories in a week — or a half pound of fat!)

Why? Because protein kick starts your metabolism, helps keep you feeling full throughout the day, and gets your body burning calories early and often. Empty carbs, either from bagels, pancakes, even bran muffins, spike your blood sugar and set you up for a big energy crash — and the massive cravings that come along with it.


Eat This!

McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese
510 calories
26 g fat
Not That!
Burger King Whopper with Cheese 
770 calories
48 g fat

Yes, you can keep your figure, or even shrink it, eating the occasional burger, as long as you know the right one to pick. Apparently the BK’s famed flame-broiling does nothing to cut the calories on their most popular burger. And the massive bun and thick layer of mayonnaise don’t help either.

So, a few rules for the burger lovers out there who don’t want to kick the habit: 1) Four ounces of meat or less. Some chains serve burgers packing up to a full pound of beef, easily exceeding the USDA’s recommendation for meat intake…for an entire day. 2) No mayo or mysterious sauce. It doesn’t matter how “special” it may be, it can pack as many calories and fat as the meat itself. (The only thing special about it, most of the time, is its ability to stretch you horizontally.) Ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce are all fine. 3) Can the combo. If you were to add a large fry and large Coke to McDonald’s relatively reasonable Quarter Pounder, that’s an extra 870 calories. If you want to eat cheeseburgers, you’ll have to show some restraint with the sides.

Eat This:

Ruby Tuesday’s 9 oz Sirloin with French Fries
615 calories
19 g fat

Not That!
Ruby Tuesday’s Bella Turkey Burger with Baked Potato
1524 calories
84 g fat

People pay too much attention to the type of meat being served to them, and not enough attention to how it’s being served. Steak = bad, turkey = good, but it’s not always that simple. The fact is a sirloin — among the leanest of all steaks — has about the same number of calories, ounce-for-ounce, as turkey or chicken.

But problems arise when the poor turkey is fried, stuffed into an oversized bun, and covered in cheese and mayo. All of a sudden, you have a turkey burger with four times the amount of calories as a 9-oz sirloin. Note to all sandwich, burger, and wrap lovers: Beware of the cheeses, special sauces, and dressings. It’s these, not the meat itself, that pack the biggest punch. 


Eat This:
1 Slice Blueberry Cheesecake
450 calories
30 g fat

Not That!
1 Slice Chocolate Layer Cake
900 calories
55 g fat
We too often look at dessert as an all-or-nothing proposition, as if deciding whether or not to eat it is the only choice that matters. But even within the world of indulgences, there can be a meal’s worth of calories separating a slice of cake from a slice of cheesecake, which is why every decision you make throughout the day, from breakfasts to snacks to the moments where you’re rewarding yourself, demand careful consideration.

Cheesecake is by no means a health food, but the graham cracker crust it often comes built on is a relatively low-impact vehicle, and the blueberry topping (usually fresh or frozen berries simmered with lemon juice and a touch of sugar) adds a small dose of antioxidants. Chocolate cake, on the other hand, is a dense wall of flour, butter, and sugar, spackled with multiple layers of frosting made with more butter and sugar and heavy cream. Ounce for ounce, it’s one of the most calorie-riddled foods on the planet.

Make all the right choices above, and you’ve consumed 1,885 calories. For someone who’s busy and moderately active, that means you can lose up to a pound or more a week! (Add in a few bouts of exercise, and the weight loss can easily double to two pounds a week or more.)

So what are your eating out tips and tricks, I’d love some new ideas? Is there a restraunt you like that has healthy options?


5 responses to “Tips for Eating Out

  1. Before I became a vegetarian, I always got kids meals. They’re actually the portion we’re all supposed to be eating! Plus I had fun with the nifty toy. *blushes*

  2. Thanks, this is a great reminder!

  3. Jen on the Edge

    To start with, we almost never eat fast food. Honestly. Maybe once or twice a year. When I do eat fast food, I usually eat only part of my burger (a cheeseburger with ketchup and mustard) and only a few fries. I really do love a soda with my burger, so I’ll get a small Coke, but fill it to the brim with ice.

    We live in a town with a bounty of locally-owned restaurants and many excellent choices. I usually start off with a salad (with only a drizzle of dressing) and then have only part of my main course. If I know the bread came from a local bakery, I’ll have a couple of bites, but that’s it. As for dessert, it really depends, but I usually don’t get it unless the restaurant I’m at is known for its desserts. Then, when I do, I share with my husband.

  4. Portion control, portion control, portion control.

    If you can remember to ask for a to-go box when you place your order, you can slip half– or more– of your meal in there before you ever start to eat. That’s been a good one for me.

  5. Dinner salads, dressing on the side.

    We love the restaurant “Sweet Tomatoes” but you can lose the benefit of the salad with the soups, pastas and bakery items, not to mention the ice cream bar if you aren’t careful.

    We have been trying to cut back on our once-a-week eating out.

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