Dining out can be a treat for your taste buds but a disaster for your weight loss program. It doesn't have to be if you choose your restaurant carefully.
Chinese, Japanese, and Thai restaurants can help you lose weight. Most oriental cuisines rely on vegetables and rice as the major ingredients in their dishes. Meat is treated as a condiment rather than a main course. This is great news for people on a weight loss program. Meat is calorie dense and has a lot fat. Vegetables are calorie poor and, for the most part, have very little fat. Stay away from deep fried dishes like tempura. Stir fried dishes are fine, the high heat means the vegetables don't stay in the hot oil long enough to absorb it. Ask for steamed rice rather than fried rice. Steamed rice will help satisfy you and it extends the flavor of the main dish because it absorbs the sauces.
Italian restaurants can be a challenge if you can't stay away from the cream sauces and cheese but a blessing if you can. Think several courses spread out over an hour or so. Antipasto is a great way to start your meal. Concentrate on the veggies and just have a taste of the cheese or meats. Order minestrone soup as your starter. Share a plate of pasta with your dining buddy. Angel hair pasta with extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh tomatoes, minced garlic, and fresh basil is just as delicious as Fettuccini Alfredo and a lot better for you.
Feel like something French? Then think Bistro rather than haute cuisine. Roasted chicken garnished with rosemary and lemon, complimented with fresh asparagus is a much better choice than steak with Barnaise sauce. Fresh and simple is the mainstay of Bistro cooking rather than creamy and complicated.
American steak houses rely on steaks as their mainstay, no surprise there. If you feel you have to order steak, have filet mignon, it's one of the leanest cuts of beef. Make sure it's grilled or broiled with no sauce. Filet is usually served in small portions. Order the petite cut if they have it. Eat slowly and you'll be as satisfied as if you'd eaten the mega portion of prime rib. Most steak houses emphasize their seafood as much as their beef. Seafood is a better choice for your diet than beef. Choose fresh vegetables for your sides rather than potato, or creamed spinach.
Whatever the restaurant you can maintain your weight loss program if you carefully choose your entre and how it's prepared.