How to Handle Eating Out at a Restaurant

February 28th, 2014 by

We often receive questions like the following below on how to handle eating out at restaurants.

“When eating out at restaurants, what do you suggest? I do not want to bring my own food, that’s just too weird for me. I’ve been out to dinner with my family twice & ordered a plain salad once & nothing the 2nd time. I have two young girls (7 & 5) and don’t feel like this is setting a good example for them.”

I honestly don’t think the children would think much of anything it if you didn’t make a big deal about it. If your current goals require high compliance, then you might have to make some choices based on those goals at this time. Realize and accept that your options right now might be somewhat limiting but there is no reason that you cannot enjoy a social situation like dinner out with friends or family in a restaurant.

Depending on current goals, if you aren’t needing to practice high compliance then you might just choose to take a free meal. If that isn’t an option because of one’s goal, the following ideas can be helpful:

– Invest in a small portable scale and take/keep that with you for these particular occasions.

– If possible, find out ahead what the menu is. It might help to know ahead of time what your options are so you are better able to plan. The wait staff is usually very willing to help you order exactly what you want/need. They like to have satisfied (tipping) customers.

-Set your mind ahead of time to what you plan to do when you get there. Are you planning to stay on plan, choose a free meal, make some substitutions or special requests etc.

Some ordering options are:

– If you are tempted by appetizers, ask if they have some crudité veggies that can be brought out so that you can munch on those and not be tempted by something else on the table.

– Order a meal that closely matches the one you are supposed to be eating. The food substitution calculator comes in very handy if you need or want to sub something. (If you don’t have the LBC Food Substitution Calculator, it is available as a mobile app for iPhone and Android platforms)

– You can chose to just order a plain salad and ‘build’ it to meet your specific needs. Add protein and other fixins to meet that meal’s requirements. Order all fixins on the side so you have control what goes onto the salad. You can bring your protein (or whatever you need) pre measured from home and throw it on there as well. Maybe just adding the protein won’t be so “weird”?

If you’re not/can’t choose any of the above or have no control over what you can order/get, then do your best you and choose to control your portion/servings.