Stay in control of your diet: 8 ways to stay on track when eating out

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We spoke to nutritionist Fiona Hunter to find out how to stick to a diet while navigating a tempting restaurant menu

Tozi, London

© TOZI

You know you should order a salad, but everyone else around you is having steak, pizza and pasta. All diets require commitment, but they shouldn't be a hindrance when it comes to socialising and dining out. When we're presented with a menu full of tasty carb-rich meals it's hardly surprising that many diets get pushed to the sidelines for one evening of culinary bliss.

But Slim.Fast nutritionist Fiona Hunter believes that everyone can stick to a strict diet regime and enjoy an evening out with friends. It's all about making good choices, cutting back on alcohol and being the first to speak up....

Read on to see Fiona's top tips and let us know how you stay focussed on your weight loss regime in restaurants by commenting below....

Top Tip 1: Be the first to order in a restaurant. Studies show that we're often swayed by the choices of others when we eat out, so order first and you're less likely to be tempted.

Top Tip 2: Don't eat the bread/olives/popadoms before the main course arrives - they're just extra calories that you don't need. Instead, sip water or ask for extra lime/lemon in your drink to add a shot of flavour to your palate. If you really can't resist ask the waiter to take the pre-meal treats away from the table.

Top Tip 3: Stay as hydrated as possible throughout the whole meal. A good glass of water before your main arrives should stop you from eating excessive amounts. If you aren't served water upon arrival at a restaurant ask the waiter for some as soon as you sit down.

Top Tip 4: Don't be afraid to tell the waiter or waitress that you'd like your vegetables served without butter or your salad without dressing. A good restaurant should be able to adapt meals to your requirements.

Top Tip 5: Don't be fooled into thinking that Vegetarian options are lower in calories. Lots of veggie dishes will contain nuts, cheese, milk and creamy tomato sauces that are high in saturated fats and calories. Don't just take the description of the meal at face-value - always ask what other ingredients may be lurking in the recipe.

Top Tip 6: It's a myth that you have to miss out on dessert at restaurants. Stick to wise choices like sorbet, frozen yoghurt and fruit based puddings. If you really can't resist a full-fat treat offer to share your pudding with the rest of the table. This way you will only have a few bites, but that's enough to attack the cravings.

Top Tip 7: Cut back on alcohol. If you're really concerned about your calorie intake don't drink at all, or stick to lighter tipples like gin and tonic, vodka tonic or Bacardi and diet coke. If you glass is being constantly topped up the waiter it's impossible to keep a check on how much you've had to drink, so keep lemon slices or make subtle rips in your napkin to stay on track.

Top Tip 8: Have a look around when you arrive at the restaurant to try and gauge the standard portion sizes. If they look huge, opt for two starters instead of a main course- this way you will feel satisfied and confident that you have eaten too many calories.

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