When it comes to dieting, we know how difficult it can be to stay on track and not sabotage yourself. The most efficient way to really know what is in your food is to cook it yourself. But does this mean when dieting or counting macros you need to eat at home for every single meal and not ever allow yourself to dine out? No. Absolutely not. In fact, that sounds awful.

You need to live your life and do what makes you happy. What fun would life be if we didn’t enjoy ourselves from time to time? When it comes to getting results, consistency is key. Luckily, there are certain ways you can avoid completely self-sabotaging yourself when you do go out to eat and it doesn’t include bringing a food scale with you to dinner.

Here I share a few of my favorite rules to help you eat healthy when dining out. 

1. Skip all sodas & booze and drink water

Lots of it. Save yourself the unwanted calories and stick with water as your choice of beverage. In fact, try drinking two full glasses before the apps arrive to avoid going overboard too soon.

2. Skip the bread basket

Literally, tell the waiter you don’t want bread because if it comes and smells delicious and is sitting right in front of you, you’ll be tempted. So avoid the temptation and just tell them not to bring it to the table.

3. Check out the menu before you go

Before you head to the restaurant, check out the menu so you know what to expect and make a plan for what you are going to order beforehand.

4. Prioritize protein

Look for the chicken, fish, steak, or tofu that is “grilled” or “steamed”. Any protein that looks yummy and minimally dressed is what you should look for on the menu first. When your food comes out, eat the protein first!

5. Order extra servings of veggies

Especially the steamed or grilled veggies. When it comes to green vegetables, these are technically considered “free” and calories which you don’t have to worry about. Things like steamed broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans are all good choices.

6. Sauce on side

Does it come with sauce? Just ask for it on the side. The amount they give you on the side of the plate is a lot less than the amount which they would be pouring over the food. Save yourself the extra calories and always ask for sauce on the side.

7. Share a dessert or a side

There are certain restaurants you go to because they may have THE BEST lava cake or mac n cheese in town. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy these things in moderation- especially if it’s the reason why anyone would go to that particular restaurant. You can ask the person you are with if they would split the plate with you if you are really craving that particular plate. Life is short. Moderation and serving size is key.

8. Overestimate calories

If you are counting calories and/or macros and are unsure how to track, do your best. It won’t be perfect but you also don’t eat out every night. If you are unsure of how many calories/macros you are at, round the number up. It’s always best to overestimate than to underestimate.

Dieting is difficult but it shouldn't be impossible. There are always sacrifices we have to make in order to reach our goals but real results come from making consistent positive choices as well as developing lifelong healthy habits that can be maintained in the long run. Eating out should be a fun enjoyable experience. Not one that brings anxiety of any kind. Finding YOUR balance is key.