Going out for lunch with friends is an important and enjoyable part of anyone’s social life. Breaking bread, figuratively speaking, has always been a core human bonding experience. This element of our shared humanity should not be given up simply for the sake of dieting, and it is indeed possible to eat lunch in a restaurant on a restricted diet. You just need to keep a few things in mind before you go, and you’ll have as good a time as anyone.
One tip that has proven very helpful to many people is not to enter a restaurant hungry. When we are hungry, our bodies can often overrule our minds; therefore it is important not to get in that state in the first place. Simply have an apple or another healthy snack about 30 minutes before you head to the restaurant, and drink a couple of glasses of water as well.
Suggest a restaurant that has many healthy options – Asian, Japanese, and Thai are often stellar examples of providing low calorie, healthy and very tasty menu options. Avoid those foods that are deep fried, and stick with the dishes that are broiled, such as teriyaki, or soups, such as Chinese dumpling in beef broth. Stir fries are often very healthy providing they stick to the meat and veggies and avoid sweet sauces; ginger beef or pad Thai are excellent choices.
Before the food arrives from your order, request a to-go box. When the meal arrives, simply put half of it away before eating; better still, request that half of your order be made to-go; this way you won’t even have to think about it. Too, you can simply share a meal with one of your friends, and order an extra side salad to make up the difference.
You can also consider going to a Tapas bar for your lunch experience. Tapas are simply Spanish for “small meal”, and are typically very small portions of gourmet cuisine. They are perfect for dieting, as you can order 2 or 3 Tapas and still stay within your caloric intake goals. They have the added benefit of being wonderfully delicious; Tapas bars are in fact all the rage among foodies nationwide.
Avoid alcoholic drinks, which are high in calories in and of themselves, not to mention stimulating to the appetite. Stick with water, mineral water or tea, which can help you burn more calories. Try and limit intake of diet soda or beverages containing artificial sweetener; although the mind is fooled by these things, the body is not, and simply ends up craving more food and sugar than if you had avoided the drink in the first place.
Finally, enjoy yourself! Eating lunch in a restaurant on a restricted diet should still be a pleasurable and joyful occasion; don’t allow yourself to feel deprived or depressed simply because you don’t wish to gorge; simply make healthy, pragmatic choices and you can enjoy both your lunch and your diet.