How To Eat at a Restaurant on a Diet

 How to survive without blowing your diet!


Eating out is one of America’s great past times, so don’t avoid restaurants when dieting!  Eating out is fun and relaxing.  You can eat out and eat healthy, too.  Many restaurants offer delicious low-fat, low-cholesterol meals.  The most important thing you can do is to be aware of healthy choices and to make wise choices.  As with all things, moderation and sensibility are keys to success with any diet.  Remember not to deprive yourself of the foods you love.  All foods can fit into a well-balanced diet.


You need to give up 3,500 calories a week for your body to release one (1) pound of fat.  Now don’t panic! 3,500 divided by 7 days is only 500 calories per day.

To loose that 500 calories a day, you can either eat 500 less calories or burn 500 more calories by exercising.  Or, to make it an easier goal to achieve, eat 250 calories less, and burn 250 calories more a day by exercising.  Doesn’t this sound simple?


Linda’s Diet Statement:


Eat to live, do not live to eat!  I hate or dislike (hate is a strong word) this statement because I am a true “foodie” who loves good food.  I still love good food and always will.  I just try to be selective in what foods I choose to eat at any given time.

You can fit most of your favorite dishes in your diet if you make some adjustments in the ingredients.  Sometimes though, you just can’t make ingredient adjustments to have the true taste of the dish.  My saying has always been “If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right!”  With that being said and off my mind, I am doing my best to lose weight at a safe and reasonable rate.

Another thing I do, is to allot myself some dark chocolate everyday.  As dark chocolate is low in calories, this satisfies my craving.  One ounce of dark chocolate is approximately 136 calories.  One ounce of chocolate is a lot of chocolate!  You can have your chocolate and eat it too!  Check out my article Dark Chocolate is Healthy Chocolate.

My husband and I enjoy going out to dinner and trying new restaurants.  We have a “date night” every Friday together.  I do my best to apply the rules on this page for choosing my entrees. Because we do it only one night a week, I am not real strict with myself.  The next day though, I am back on my diet.  This keeps me from feeling deprived!

If I am invited to a special dinner, I will eat what is set in front of me.  I will not tell the host or hostess that I’m on a diet.  This only makes the them uncomfortable after working hard to prepare a grand meal.  I find that I can continue my weight loss as long as I immediately get back on the diet the next day.

Always remember – if you break your diet on one day, get right back on the diet immediately the next day!



Diet Dining Secrets:


Never arrive at a restaurant hungry!  Hungry people make bad ordering decisions.

Eat an apple before you go out to dinner to help control your hunger.

Savor your food rather than stuff yourself.  By eating a little of the food you really love, keeps you from feeling deprived and makes you a happier person.  Do not eat anything on your plate that you do not like!  You do not have to clean your plate!  Try to never finish everything on your place.  Do your best to leave 1/2 of the food on your place.  Either take the rest home or let someone else at the table eat it.


Alcoholic Beverages – Alcohol can stimulate your appetite.  Plus the calories (almost 200 calories per ounce) in alcohol can add up fast.  Order a glass of wine and sip slowly on it through your dinner.  Drink lots of water as your eat to quench your thirst and help you nurse your alcohol drink.



Eating Breakfast Out


Eat the higher protein foods such as eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham.  Soak up the extra grease on your plate or the entree with a paper towel or napkin.

Breads:  If you need some carbs, go for a slice or two of whole grain, sourdough or rye toast.  If you have only biscuits to choose from, eat half the biscuit.

Fruits:  As most buffets have fruit, choose the apples, pears, grapefruits, strawberries, and/or blueberries because they are lower in sugar.  Avoid fruit juices because they are filled with excess sugar, calories, and sodium.

Coffee:  Use only a little bit of real sugar in your coffee and if you have to, use a very little bit of creamer.


Eating Lunches and Dinner Out

Rule 1: 
Eat something healthy a short time before going out to a restaurant.  If you arrive at the restaurant hungry, you’ll be more inclined to overeat.

Rule 2:  Eat slowly and savor each bit.  Enjoy the conversation at the table.  Put your knife and fork down between bites.  Do not pick it up again until you’ve completely swallowed the last bite – allow your body time to digest.

Rule 3:  Be the first to order at the table.  This way you will not be tempted by what others order.

Tip:  Order from the appetizer menu.  The appetizer plates are smaller than the dinner plates and you will eat less.  If you are still hungry, order a side salad to help fill your tummy.

Beware:  Portion sizes in restaurants can be more than you need.  If you receive too large a portion, eat only half.  When you feel full, stop eating – You do not need to finish your meal.  Just because the food is there, does not mean you have to eat it!   Ask for a takeout box or doggy bag and take it home for another meal.  Keep your portions under control when you are out to eat.  Try to never eat until full, but only satisfied!

Drink Water:  Good ways to avoid sugar-filled drinks is to get water or unsweetened tea.  Drink a lot of water before your meals to make you fuller and less likely to eat too much.

Alcoholic Drink:  If possible, avoid alcoholic drinks as they are high in calories.  If you want an alcoholic beverage, stick to moderation.  That means, in general, one (1) drink a day for women, two (2) drinks a day for men.

Start with Soup or Salad:  Filling your empty stomach with soup or salad before a meal is a good way to keep you from binging on your entree later.  Be selective.   A clear, broth-based soup with vegetables is particularly good as an appetizer because soups in general tends to decrease your appetite.  Most soups are low in calories and will fill you up, so you eat less.  Soup takes a long time to eat, its filling, its low calorie, and it’s good for you.

Salads:  A garden salad also helps hold you over until your entree arrives.  When you order a salad, go for the vinaigrette dressings or your own oil and vinegar dressing.  Most restaurant carry a low-fat dressing.  You can ask for dressings to be served separately or on the side, and dip your fork lightly in the dressing to eat with each bite.  This way, you have control over how much or how little you add.  Beware of the chicken Caesar salad, as it is often higher in fat and calories than a cheeseburger.


Diet Dining Secret:  Order a salad or a vegetable side dish with your meat.  Eat it before you eat your entree to help fill you up.

Things to remember when ordering a salad:

1 tablespoon of grated cheese adds 28 calories and 2 grams of fat.

1 tablespoon of bacon bits adds 30 calories and 1 gram of fat.

1 tablespoon of salad dressing adds 60 to 90 calories and 6 to 9 grams of fat.

  Plain bread or yeast rolls are relatively low in fat and calories.  It is the butter and oil you add that increases the fat and calories.  You can eat the bread, but leave out the butter!  Limit yourself to one slice only.  Most of us inhale the bread basket while waiting for our entree.

  Healthy appetizers would be shrimp cocktail without crackers, stuffed mushrooms, or a few broiled or baked chicken wings with a little hot sauce.


Diet Dining Secret: Order two (2) appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entree for your meal.


Main Entree:  When out to eat, usually the more expensive the steak, the less fat it contains.  Avoid anything with “fried” or “creamy” in the name.  They are a quick way to double the fat, calories, and even carbohydrates (especially from breading).  Order grilled, broiled, baked, or boiled.  Trim visible fat off meat and poultry.  Remember, a 3-ounce portion of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand.

Make a grilled chicken sandwich healthy by ordering it without mayonnaise or butter.  Instead use a mustard.

If you have to have a hamburger, then eat it without half the bread and load it with lettuce, tomato, and mustard and no mayonnaise.

If you cannot turn down a very fattening meal when you are over at a friend’s house or at a dinner party, then just eat a little and do a few more minutes of cardio that evening or the next day.

Avoid those pasta plates that have very little protein, but has fattening sauce and full of carbohydrates.  If you must have pasta, look for tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces.  Tomato-based sauces are much lower in fat and calories.

Avoid fried foods whenever possible!  Your arteries will thank you!

If you have a choice of side dishes, choose a baked potato or steamed vegetables rather than French fries.  Even if choices are not listed, ask your server to substitute vegetables or a baked potato for French fries.

Diet Dining Secret:  Split the entree with your dining companion or take 1/2 of it home.


Desserts:  Leave a little time for your food to digest before you order a dessert.  Give your stomach time to send signals to your brain you are full (it takes about 20 minutes).  If you still want a dessert, consider splitting it with one of your companions.  Remember, half the dessert equals half the calories.  Some healthy choice desserts include sorbet, a yogurt dish, fruits, or melon.   Another idea for dessert could be a cup of coffee with a small scoop of ice cream as your creamer.


Diet Dining Secret:  Share your dessert. Never, ever eat the whole dessert yourself.


Coffee Drink Calories

Diet Recipes – My many diet recipes that I have collected. The recipe show fat grams, fiber grams, and calorie.

Determine Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Dieting Hints & Tips

Food Labels 101 – Learn how to read and understand Food Labels.

Food Nutritional Value Chart – Shows fat grams, fiber grams, and calorie.

Identify A Calorie Goal

Juicing For Weight Loss

Making Sense of Portion Sizes – Portion Control Secrets

Menopause and Weight Gain

What About Exercise?  Calories Burned Per Minute of Exercise By Weight




Healthy Lifestyle   

Comments and Reviews

5 Responses to “How To Eat at a Restaurant on a Diet”

  1. Sis

    In my experience, ordering off the appetizer menu does NOT work! The appetizers are meant to be shared by 4 people and you end up getting more than your share. Just sayin’. 🙂

  2. Persephone de Vito

    It was quite nice that you said that when it comes to eating at a restaurant, it’s best to avoid alcoholic drinks as they are high in calories. That’s good to know because I don’t really like drinking liquor, to begin with. We’re planning to order food from the restaurant though because this will be the first time that I and my friends will be getting together in a long time. I might as well ignore my diet just this once. Thanks for sharing.

  3. HealthyLife WeRIndia

    You can eat out and eat healthy. Thanks for sharing this valuable information with us. Keep updating with more such posts.

  4. Mark Murphy

    I really like your reminder that the butter and oil that you add to bread is where a lot of the calories come from. My wife and I like to go out to eat on the weekends, but the both of us are trying to come up with ways to lose weight. I will be sure to tell my wife your simple tip of avoiding the butter and oil on our bread.

  5. ash

    I recently had the opportunity to read your diet article, and I wanted to reach out and commend you for the outstanding work you’ve done. Your article not only grabbed my attention but also provided valuable insights and practical advice on maintaining a healthy diet. I appreciate the effort you put into researching and presenting the information in such a comprehensive and engaging manner.


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