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Dining Out Without Caving In: 5 Restaurant Survival Tips

Apr 15, 2016

So your friends or family invite you out to eat, but you’re trying to stick with your eating plan. This is usually when anxiety kicks in and starts to take over. Will you dive in now and get back on plan tomorrow? Does the restaurant even have healthy items on the menu?

While skipping the bread basket is one well-known trick for keeping the calorie-count down, there are other ideas to consider.

Here are tips from Health and Fitness Expert and ZEN Brand Ambassador Mark Macdonald, who travels frequently and often has no choice but to eat out. He has become a connoisseur of distinguishing the good from the bad on any menu.

1. Decide if you are on or off plan
Before you go to the restaurant, decide if you are going to follow your plan or dive in and make this your cheat meal for the week. If you decide to dive in, make it a great experience, and then just get back on plan with the next meal.

2. Don’t go hungry
If you are eating on plan, don’t go to the restaurant hungry. When you arrive hungry, you are more susceptible to choosing something high in carbs, sugar and fat. Arrive at the restaurant ready to eat, but not starving. Drink a ZEN Fuze™ shake a short time before you leave for the restaurant, so you don’t feel famished by the time you receive your food.

3. Choose your protein first
Choosing your protein first is really helpful to ensure you eat a balanced meal and eat the right portion size. For instance, steak already contains fat. If you choose steak, then you can order steamed vegetables with quinoa or a plain baked potato to go with it. If you choose a lean protein, like chicken, then you can get a salad with a drizzle of dressing, which brings us to point No. 4.

4. Ask for dressing, sauces and oils on the side
You’re the boss at the restaurant, so be decisive about what you want and don’t want on your food. You can even ask that your vegetables be cooked without oil or butter, and keep all salad dressings on the side.

5. Alcohol is okay, but eliminate the starches
If you want to have some wine or a beer with your meal, just make sure you don’t order any starches. This means no rice, potatoes, bread or noodles. You would simply have your protein with vegetables.

Relax and enjoy your night out, guilt free!