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Healthy Dining Out Tips: Make nutritious choices when dining at restaurants by ordering smaller portions and asking for modifications.

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Healthy Dining Out Tips: Make Nutritious Choices When Dining at Restaurants

A Guide to Ordering Smaller Portions and Asking for Modifications

When trying to lose weight, dining out at restaurants can be a challenge. The abundance of tempting menu options filled with unhealthy ingredients and large portion sizes can make it difficult to stick to your weight loss goals. However, with some smart choices and a bit of planning, you can still enjoy dining out while making nutritious choices.

Follow this comprehensive guide to ordering smaller portions and asking for modifications to ensure a healthy dining experience:

Pre-Dining Preparation

  1. Research the Menu: Before heading to the restaurant, take some time to research the menu online. Look for dishes that are labeled as "healthy" or "low-calorie." Check for ingredients that may not align with your dietary preferences or weight loss goals.

  2. Plan Ahead: Decide what you will order before arriving at the restaurant. Having a predetermined choice will help you avoid impulsive decisions that may undermine your weight loss efforts.

  1. Opt for Smaller Portions: Look for menu items that are labeled as small, appetizers, or half orders. These options generally have fewer calories and can help you maintain portion control.

  2. Choose Lean Proteins: Pick dishes that include lean proteins like chicken breast, fish, or tofu. Request the proteins to be grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried.

  3. Load Up on Vegetables: Scan the menu for vegetable-based options. Salads, roasted vegetables, or stir-fried veggies can be excellent choices, as long as they are not accompanied by high-calorie dressings or oily sauces.

  4. Beware of Hidden Calories: Be cautious of dishes with creamy sauces, butter, or excessive cheese. These add extra calories quickly. Opt for dishes with lighter sauces or ask for sauces and dressings on the side, allowing you to control the amount you consume.

  5. Customize Your Order: Don't hesitate to ask for modifications to suit your dietary needs. Restaurants are usually willing to accommodate requests such as substituting fries with a side salad or sautéing your veggies in olive oil instead of butter.

Dining Etiquette

  1. Practice Mindful Eating: Slow down and savor each bite. Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Stop eating when you are comfortably satisfied, regardless of portion size.

  2. Control Overeating: Request a to-go container when your meal arrives, and immediately pack away half of it to enjoy later. This helps prevent the temptation to overeat due to large portion sizes.

Managing Social Situations

  1. Communicate Your Goals: Inform your dining companions about your weight loss journey. This will help them understand your dietary preferences and may influence their own choices.

  2. Choose Restaurants with Healthy Options: When selecting a restaurant, opt for those known for their healthy choices or fresh ingredients. Making the right choice from the outset will simplify dining out to some extent.

  3. Be Assertive: Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. Request modifications or substitutions politely but firmly to ensure your meal aligns with your weight loss goals.


Dining out does not have to sabotage your weight loss efforts. By using these healthy dining out tips to order smaller portions and request modifications, you can make nutritious choices when eating at restaurants. Remember to plan ahead, be mindful of the menu, practice portion control, and communicate your goals. With these strategies, you can enjoy restaurant meals while staying on track with your weight loss journey.