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The Dos and Don'ts of eating out on a diet

When you're determined to lose weight, eating out can be one of the most challenging and stressful parts of the process.

But you needn't cancel social plans or munch on a lettuce leaf in order to reach your goals. With a little forward planning, you can enjoy nights out and still drop the pounds.

DO: Order off-menu
Don't be afraid to make a few swaps on menu items. Want veggies instead of chips or a balsamic vinegar dressing instead of a creamy one? Just ask. Depending on how helpful the restaurant is, they may be able to rustle you up something completely off-menu, like a protein-packed omelet or a chicken salad. 

DON'T: Eat the bread basket
We know, we know; it's delicious and you're hungry, but it's far better from a weight-loss perspective to save your appetite for the food you order. 

DO: Fill up on veggies
Pick dishes that are heavy on the veg and lean proteins and lower in simple carbs, such as rice, bread and pasta. If you do pick a pasta dish, ask for extra veggies. Fill up on the good stuff and you'll be less likely to indulge on the diet-destroying foods. 

DON'T: Drink your calories
It's much easier to go overboard on the calories if you're gulping them down in alcoholic drinks, sugary sodas or creamy coffees. It might not be as exciting, but opting for water instead will dramatically improve your waistline. If you can't resist a glass of wine or two, alternate it with water; you'll minimise your overall calorie intake, lower the chances of drunken lapses in willpower and most importantly, save yourself a hangover. 

DO: Eat slowly

Slowing down your eating might mean you eat less overall. Eating mindfully means you enjoy your food more and you allow your brain time to switch off its hunger signals. 


DON'T: Panic
Even if you can't eat as well as you want to, the occasional off-plan meal won't matter in the long-run. Diets have to be flexible in order to be realistic, so enjoy your meal and pick up where you left off next time. No guilt!

A successful diet plan should be one that you can stick to for the rest of your life, so make sure the occasional evening out isn't off-limits. Eat wisely where you can, but don't let losing weight turn you into a bore. 

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