How to eat at restaurants without feeling guilty about your diet

By Ea Francisco | Photos by Fabrizio Magoni, Isidor Emanuel, Stefan Johnson, James Harris, Stephanie McCabe, Carissa Gan, James Suton/Unsplash

No matter how strict your diet is, you also need to take a break from making your own meals. Some people treat it as cheat day, but you don’t necessarily have to. There’s still a way for you to regularly eat at restaurants without jeopardizing your diet, and here’s how you can do it.

Steamed over Sautéed

While both are generally on the healthier side of cooking, steam is the better option in this case. To get the best out of your vegetables, it’s best to cook with the least amount of time as possible. Steaming retains most nutrients and boosts antioxidant activity with vegetables like broccoli and spinach. With sautéing, chefs still add butter or oil, which adds calories to a meal.

Tomato-based over Creamy

If you decide to go for pasta, go with tomato and red sauces over creamy ones. White pasta sauces are usually made with a lot of cream, butter, and cheese, which make for some heavy calories and fat. Tomato-based sauces are lighter and have a little more vegetables and herbs. Depending on what pasta it is, sauces can add up to about a thousand calories.

Two Appetizers over an Entrée

You can prevent eating too much by having two appetizers instead of an appetizer and an entrée. This is the best way to practice portion control without having any leftovers. Two appetizers would equate to a light meal and it gives you more diversity and a more balanced meal overall.

Grilled over Fried

When it comes to meat, grilled is favored over fried, especially deep fried, because of the minimal fat. Fried meat has added ingredients that make it fattier while grilling makes fat drip off meat. Fried also has relatively more calories than grilled food.

Order Sauce on the Side

Instead of having your sauce or dressing already mixed in, ask for it to be separate. Excessive dressing can easily turn your low-calorie salad into a diet wrecker. If you have it on the side, you can at least control the amount you put on your food, and avoid too much extra calories.