In a perfect world, we would be able to cook healthy and delicious meals at home every day of the week. But let's face it, this isn't a perfect world. Sometimes we're invited out to celebrate a loved one's birthday, maybe we don't have any food in the house, maybe we're just being lazy today. Whatever the excuse, sometimes we just have to eat out. This doesn't have to ruin your diet though! Just as long as you make smart decisions :)
Tip #1: Check Out the Menu Ahead of Time
If you know where you're going to be eating beforehand, check out that menu online! See if there's anything that looks relatively healthy or items that might be able to be custom ordered to fit your dietary preferences. Having a plan (or at least a general idea) of what you'd like to order will help keep you from going overboard or feeling overwhelmed when you get there.
Tip #2: Don't be Afraid to Custom Order!
Just because the menu specifies certain ingredients and methods of preparation, doesn't mean you HAVE to have it exactly as-is. Most restaurants expect people to have different dietary restrictions and will be more than willing to help customize your meal to your preferences. They want you to have a good experience while dining with them! Just make sure to ask nicely ;)
Some swaps you may want to ask for: dressing on the side, no butter on your baked potato/toast, grilled chicken instead of fried, etc.
Tip #3: Ask for a To-Go Box
Sometimes despite custom ordering or finding a healthy choice, the portion sizes at many restaurants are just too big for one person! A great way to make sure that you don't completely stuff yourself is to ask for a to-go box and take half of your meal home. This also works really well when there aren't necessarily any "healthy" options. You can indulge and enjoy your meal without feeling like you're over-doing it by eating the whole thing.
Eating out doesn't have to be a stressful experience or an excuse to ruin your diet! With these tips in mind, you can dine out and stick to your diet too :)