Restaurant Survival Guide: Tips to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight

By: Kayla Adams

It’s very important to have a plan and to stick to it when eating away from home, but it’s not always easy! We’ve got some helpful tips to eat out and still lose weight to help you keep the #FindYourFit momentum going!

If you’re participating in the Find Your Fit Challenge, then I’m confident that you’re making great progress as you approach week 10. Pat yourself on the back – you’ve done something great in the name of finding your fit!

Now that your habits at home are settling in, it’s time to tackle eating out. With the holidays just around the corner, parties & dinners are going to fill your weekends. Do you have a plan?

Many restaurants offer huge serving sizes that are two or three times what you should eat in one sitting. But. because it’s in front of you and looks amazing, you feel compelled to eat it all! Let’s reel it in with a few helpful tips.


How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight


Look at the Menu Online

This is a great way to establish what you plan to eat and commit to it before you even step through the door. You don’t have to stick with a single side of steamed veggies to eat out and still lose weight though!

Simply sidestep dishes with that include words like “fried” or “breaded” or that include cheese or creamy sauces. Instead, opt for baked, broiled, & unbreaded items instead! It’s also helpful to skim the menu at home & pinpoint what dishes contain primarily vegetables, fruit, or fish. Go for those!

If you already know what you’re having before you arrive at the restaurant, then you’ll avoid making spur of the moment decisions that won’t be so kind to your waistline.


Consider Your Drink

Sugary drinks like sweet tea, cocktails, lemonade, and soda are full of empty calories that have a complete lack of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids. Yet, sugary drinks continue to be a major source of calories in the American diet.  Just one serving of Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid Cranberry Juice cocktails contains 57 grams of sugar!

Keep this in mind when you make your drink selection. Commit to selecting water or unsweetened tea as an alternative to juices, sweet teas, and sodas.


Alter Your Entrée

Don’t shy away from requesting modifications for your meal. Request steamed vegetables instead of mashed potatoes and ask them to hold the butter or order your salad without cheese & croutons!

Alterations to your dish allow you to continue to enjoy the foods you love, minus the extras that you may have grown accustomed to ingesting. When eating a salad or a dish with a special sauce, select a low-fat dressing and ask for the dressing or sauce on the side so that you can more carefully control how much you’re eating.

Perhaps you’re not feeling too hot about eating a salad? No big deal! Modifications allow you to get that delicious baked chicken dish that you love minus the butter and marinade you don’t need.


Share with Family and Friends

There’s always more than one dish that looks good! Why not take some food off your plate & share it with your family and friends? Just be sure to ask the waiter for small plates for everyone at the table.

If you’re dining alone, still ask for a smaller plate and use that to eat off of as you save the rest for later. It’s time to abandon the idea that you have to clean your plate when you’re eating out, especially knowing you’re often being served 2 or 3 portions. Allow yourself to take some tasty leftovers home that you can enjoy later!


Skip the Buffet

If you’re going out to dinner with a friend and they insist on visiting a place with a buffet, don’t panic! Many buffet-style restaurants offer the option to opt-out of using their buffet and simply enjoying a single entrée. Select your entrée using the above tips as your guide and say no to the repeated trips back to the buffet.

I know it can be difficult saying no as you watch others enjoy round after round food, but remember you have goals that extend beyond this present moment. Do not sacrifice all of your hard work for a meal that will only last a half-hour and will make you feel stuffed and uncomfortable afterward!



See? There’s no need to turn down an invitation to let your hair down and enjoy a great meal with family and friends! With these tips on how to eat out and still lose weight, you can safely avoid the restaurant traps and maintain that #FindYourFit progress.

Have fun and enjoy!