Whether it’s paleo, vegan, low carb, low fat, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, nut free, raw food, alkaline, ketogenic, or any one of today’s most popular diets, dining out at restaurants while dieting can be tricky. This especially true if for those who have dietary restrictions due to a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, in which case deciding where to eat can be challenging and even a bit frustrating.
But who says you have to sacrifice taste and preference while dining out just because you’re on a diet? The good news is that you don’t. Many restaurants, such as swank South Beach restaurants and those in large metro areas, are hip to today’s diets and do their best to accommodate the needs of their guests. However despite this growing awareness, there are still several instances in which eating out at restaurants can be difficult for dieters.
Here’s how you can eat out at restaurants without blowing your diet or budget:
If possible, plan ahead
If you know your company get together or family gathering is going to be held at a certain restaurant or venue, be sure to review the menu ahead of time. If you have any kind of food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity, it’s essential that you communicate this to a restaurant manager in advance. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate such requests, however doing so can be nearly impossible in some cases. Describe your diet to the manager and ask them for any suggestions or recommendations.
On the side
Everyone knows that sides complete and compliment a meal, but did know that sides can actually be the meal itself? If a restaurant doesn’t have a course or menu item that suits your diet, you may be able to find a side dish that does. Ordering two or more of these can create an affordable, filling, and fully satisfying meal without having to compromise on diet. Similarly, you can ask for sauces, butter, dressings, oil, and other condiments on the side to cut calories, salt, sugar, or anything else you want less of in your diet.
Sub if you must
Some restaurants are more flexible than others when it comes to substituting menu items, however it never hurts to ask, which is why calling ahead when possible is important. However there are many restaurants that are happy to make substitutions for dietary restrictions and preferences. For example, low carb dieters can substitute a baked potato with all the trimmings for a simple side salad. Those who avoid meat can ask for a side of vegetables, salad, soup, or fruit.
Regardless of why you’re on a diet, dieting while dining out doesn’t always have to be confusing or challenging. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the flavors of a restaurant experience while sticking to your diet!