Dining Out on a Diet

Dining out is a regular occurrence for most of us. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just for convenience, eating at a restaurant can be a challenge if you are trying to lose weight.

As mentioned on the Toast website, it’s estimated that 45% of diners go out to eat multiple times a week, and let me tell you, even just once a week can be hard enough to stay on track when dining out on a diet.

The good news is that with a few simple tips and tricks, you can still enjoy eating out while keeping your weight loss goals on track.

Mindset is Important when it comes to Dining Out on a Diet

Making smart choices and healthier alternatives when it comes to dining out on a diet has a lot to do with your mindset and approach.

With the right mindset, you can make choices that align with your health goals, even in the moment of temptation.

It’s important to approach dining out with a plan, along with a positive attitude, and a willingness to be flexible and make alterations to your order.

By being mindful of your choices, practicing self-discipline, and also implementing balance and moderation, along with staying accountable, can help you make smart choices that will help you stay on track with your weight loss goals when dining out on a diet.

With the right mindset and healthy approach, dining out can still be an enjoyable and healthy experience.

Tips for Dining out on a Diet

Here are some tips on dining out on a diet to help you stay on track while enjoying the night off.

Plan Ahead

Before heading out to the restaurant, ensure you look up the menu and view the healthier options available. Many restaurants now have their menus online, which makes the decision-making process even easier.

Plan your meal in advance so you are organised and don’t get caught off guard and make impulsive, unhealthy choices when you’re at the restaurant.

Make Smart Choices

Making smart choices is all about adopting a positive and healthy mindset and how you go about choosing the healthiest option. An example could be to opt for dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed instead of fried.

Try to choose lean protein sources like chicken, fish, or tofu, and avoid high-fat meat options like burgers. If you’re ordering a salad, opt for a vinaigrette dressing rather than a creamy dressing, and skip the croutons.

Portion Control

Restaurant portions are often much larger serving than what you would normally serve at home. Restaurants often serve oversized portions, so you could consider dividing your meal with a friend or simply ask for a takeaway box and save half of your meal for lunch the next day.

Be careful with sauces and dressings as many sauces and dressings are high in calories. Ask for them on the side so you can control the amount you eat.

Drink Water

Instead of ordering sugary drinks like soft drinks or cocktails, opt for water or at best, sugar-free soft drinks. Not only will this help you cut calories and keep your sugar intake lower, but it will also keep you hydrated.

Mind the Condiments

Try and be mindful of what you’re adding to your food. Sauces, dressings, spreads, and gravy can add a lot of extra calories, so either ask for them on the side or limit the amount you use.

Make Healthier Substitutions

This one is a big tip for me not only when dining out but in general when eating.

If there is a meal you want that isn’t the healthiest option, ask the waiter if you can make a slight change or substitution. For example, you can ask for brown rice instead of white rice, or grilled vegetables instead of french fries.

Enjoy Yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself, life is about balance and enjoying your lifestyle in moderation. Dining out is a treat, and it’s okay to indulge in a treat once in a while.

Just make sure to balance it out with healthy choices the rest of the time and where you can, try to make small changes to help with your total daily calories.

Be Choosey

Dining out on a diet can be tricky. If you can, try and look for restaurants that offer healthy options on their menu.

These days many restaurants have a healthy section on their menu that offers low-calorie and other dietary needs.

Don’t Arrive Hungry

Just remember, when you’re hungry, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices.

Eat a small, healthy snack before you go out to dinner to avoid arriving starving and being tempted to order the wrong things or even over-order.

Skip the Bread and Butter

There are some restaurants that serve bread and butter before the meal. Avoid the temptation to indulge in these extra calories and make the easy decision to stay away or ask for them not to bring it out.

Opt for Grilled, Steamed, or Baked Dishes

Choose grilled, steamed, or baked dishes instead of fried options.

These cooking methods are generally healthier versions that are lower in calories.

Dining out on a Diet
Dining out on a Diet

Elements to Stick to When Dining out on a Diet

Sticking to your weight loss goals when dining out can be challenging, but there are some elements that can help you stay on track.

Here are a few to consider when dining out on a diet.


Self-discipline is key to sticking to your weight loss goals. When dining out, avoid temptations like bread baskets and desserts, and focus on your healthy choices and alternatives.

Building up self-discipline is going to be key to staying on track.


Moderation is important when dining out. Enjoy your meal, but be mindful of the portion sizes and avoid in overindulging. After all, balance is important as this is a lifestyle long-term.


Be flexible and open to making modifications or substitutions to your meal.

For example, ask for dressings or sauces on the side, options for healthier sides, and customise your meal to meet your goals.


Having someone to hold you accountable can help you stick to your weight loss goals when dining out.

Share your goals with your friends or family members, and even consider tracking your meals in a food diary or app – I currently use The Healthy Mummy app and program.

Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude can make all the difference when it comes to sticking to your weight loss goals.

Believe in yourself, stay motivated, and celebrate your successes along the way.

Mindset for Dining Out on a Diet

Being mindful of your eating habits can help you make healthier choices when dining out.

Pay attention to your hunger and fullness cues, and focus on enjoying every bite of your meal.

Having the right mindset is key to successfully dining out on a diet.

Here are some tips to help you develop a positive mindset when dining out on a diet.

Focus on Your Goals

Before going out to eat, remind yourself of your health goals and how this meal fits into your overall plan.

Visualise yourself making healthy choices and feeling good about your decisions.

Avoid Feeling Deprived

It’s important to avoid feeling deprived or restricted when eating out on a diet. Always think positively and focus on the healthy options available to you and how they will help you reach your goals.

Practice Mindfulness

Being mindful means paying attention to the present moment and your feelings without judgment.

Before ordering, take a deep breath and ask yourself how hungry you really are.

During the meal, enjoy every bite and pay attention to how your body feels.

You can also read ways how to implement and practice mindfulness into your lifestyle here.

Don’t be too Hard on Yourself

Remember that it’s okay to indulge in moderation. If you end up eating something that’s not on your plan, don’t be too hard on yourself.

At your next meal, make up for it and get back on track. Learning how to incorporate this balance and way of healthy eating into your lifestyle is going to be key in maintaining this long-term.

Enjoy the Company

Finally, remember that dining out is a social enjoyment. Enjoy the company of your friends and family and focus on the conversation, rather than just the food.

Dining out on a Diet – Final Thoughts

In conclusion, dining out and losing weight is possible!

By following these simple tips, you can make healthier choices and change your mindset for the better while still enjoying dining out at restaurants.

Remember to be mindful of your portion sizes, ensure you choose wisely and enjoy the social aspect of dining out with friends and family.

Dining out on a diet can be challenging, but with a bit of planning, thinking ahead, and the right mindset, it’s definitely possible to stick to your weight loss goals while still enjoying social activities.

In order to stick to your weight loss goals when dining out on a diet requires some key elements you need to adapt to including, having a plan, practicing self-discipline and balance, being flexible, and having a positive attitude.

By focusing on healthy choices, enjoying your meals in moderation, and prioritising your health goals, you can dine out with confidence and stay on track with your weight loss journey.

I hope these tips have helped you gain some insight and have given you some courage to stick to your goals next time you dine out.

Let me know via my socials your favourite tips when dining out on a diet!

Amy xx

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