It is going to happen. You are going to be doing very well sticking to your diet– high fiving yourself in your mind– thinking, “damn, this dieting stuff is actually easy, why didn’t I start this sooner?” when your dear friend, whom you haven’t seen in a while, asks you to grab dinner. You immediately think that you absolutely can’t– It would ruin your work– It would destroy the fat loss goals you are after. False!
If you begin to choose your diet over your friends and your social life you will, sooner rather than later, begin to loathe it and you will be extremely likely to break off and rebound back to unhealthy habits.
You can go out and enjoy yourself with friends. You just have to be smart. I have a few recommendations for when this day happens.
Bring your own drink (or stevia packets). If you know your friend(s) will be consuming adult beverages and you will be missing something to sip on, I recommend bringing a low/zero calories beverage such as the flavored waters or ICE beverages. (look for these in your grocery store, the black raspberry flavor is my favorite!) Most servers will not care as long as you order something on the menu. I have personally have never had anyone say anything about drinking my own beverage. I’ve had most servers or bartenders actually bring me a cup of ice for it! You can also bring stevia and order lemon water to make your own lemonade (also great with unsweetened iced tea).
Order smart. You are able to order a diet-friendly menu at almost any restaurant you go to. Chicken, sirloin steak, salmon, white fish– all good choices, but beware of added fats these proteins are cooked in. Ask for no butter or oil when preparing your meal. You can usually find a healthy side item such as steamed vegetables to go with your protein. You can even bring your own side dishes–such as steamed vegetables and/or sweet potatoes (that are not covered in marshmallow and caramel like they are served in the restaurants).
Bring your own Protein. You can bring your own protein to add to a house salad you order at the restaurant. This is what I usually do when my diet is very strict– especially the last weeks before a bikini competition. I will bring a pouch of tuna or 4 ounces of chicken, ground turkey, etc (whatever protein I have cooked at home–sometimes veggies come along with it if the meal is already prepared with them) Sometimes I will also bring hard boiled egg whites as well. Depending on how strict my diet is at the time, I will bring my own dressing too. My favorite brand is the Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings– these can be found near the produce. They are low calorie and absolutely delicious! If I do not bring my own dressing, I opt for a oil and vinegar or a house vinaigrette. (next question may be how does one get all of this premade food into said restaurant? Please see my post regarding Product Review: Six Pack Fitness Renee Tote )
If you have some time on your hands, you could look up the restaurants menu and find something that will work in your macros. Essentially fix your other meals around the meal you want to order. This is the beauty of following an IIFYM diet. You can essentially eat whatever you want, as long as its within your set calories and macro nutrients.
Hopefully these tips and tricks help you to stay smart and continue to make healthy decisions even while out to dinner. You don’t have to give up your social life to stick to your goals. Just be prepared and stick to the plan!
Comment below your favorite out to dinner tips for staying healthy!