Stay lean and eat out, yes you can for sure enjoy good restaurant meals without you putting on the pounds. When it comes to you eating healthy, it’always much easier when you are in your own kitchen. Instead of fried you do baked chicken, instead of refined pasta you do whole grains. However so many of our best eating intentions become sabotaged as we step into a typical restaurant. Behind the scenes my friends, the simple appetizers are plunge into the deep fryers, pan-seared fillets of fish are basted with butter, and sugar sneaks in where you least expect it.



In 2017, American Heart Association unveiled a shocking year long study that confirmed what most of us have had suspicions about for years; that the diets go off the path when people eat out. The study followed 150 overweight individuals who were already on a weight-loss plan. Study participants were checked in on a smartphone app multiple times on a given day and reported if they had strayed from the plan, noting where they were and who they were with. Not at all surprisingly, participants reported that the most temptations was when they were at a bar or restaurant and being around other people eating.



You would think that everybody knows they are going to be at higher risk when they go into a restaurant, however, people will go into these toxic environments and they totally forget, the lead author of the study’s, Lora Burke, a professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, told Time Magazine in 2017. We remind people it’s a lifestyle, not a diet that they can go on and off,” she said. It’ is OK if they want to go out to eat wings on a Friday night, however, they will need to cut back on Thursday and Saturday.”



The great temptations of a restaurant will begin when you walk in the door. Researchers at the University of California, (Berkeley), found some evidence that merely smelling food could very will lead to weight gain. In their 2017 study, mice were put in three different groups; one group had their sense of smell shut off, one had their usual sense of smell, and the third set was given a heightened sense of smell. All of these mice ate the same high-fat diet, while they all did gain weight, the amazing finding was the greater the sense of smell, the more weight they gained. Once the heavier mice in the third group had their superpowers of scent shut off, they dropped the weight.



Let us remember, that it is not to suggest that any of us should begin to wear any nose plugs when we are sitting down to a meal out. Instead, be always aware of how heavenly smalls can affect our appetite. If you are in a 40-minute wait, standing or sitting near a kitchen, with the aroma of a freshly cooked T-bone steak and some garlicky french fries wafting through the air, could trigger you to eat much more than you would, if you had sat right down at your table when you had arrived. Making a reservation in advance will help minimize all of that aroma effect.



Once you are at your table, there’s a way to make some choices that will align with your goals. If you ahead of time know the restaurant that you want to experience, preparation will be your friend. Take a look online at the menu, so that you won’t get all caught up in how it’s designed to make you order more food. According to restaurant consultant Aaron Allen’s 2015 infographic “The Psychology of Menu Design, restaurants can and do persuade us to buy more or a different meal option through the design of the menu. Certain colors can sometime affect what we order, red encourages action and can signal a diner to buy a more expensive or calorie laden option, while orange stimulates our appetite. Allen also noted that the menu writers can also very carefully craft descriptions to load a dish with emotional resonance and nostalgia. Grandma’s apple pie, who can resist?



A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2015 also backs up how unhealthy restaurant meals can actually be. According to the study, a staggering 92% of the meals from large-chain and the local restaurants had more than recommended calories for an average person for a single meal. The researchers found that the portion sizes in the restaurant industry are obscene. Some of the meals exceeded the calories recommended for an entire day, Susan Roberts, the director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, told Time Magazine back in 2016, That our biology is designed to make us eat when there’s food there. I don’t really think that anybody should feel bad that they get weak when there’s an excessive portion in front of their eyes, because the problem is in the excessive portion, not them.



However, my friends, there are some strategies to help us avoid polishing off a porterhouse steak as big as your head or an omelet fit for six. Consider splitting an entree with your friend or partner, you can even add if you desire a healthy appetizer or a veggie rich salad to your shared meal to bulk up the nutritional content. Another way around this portion distortion is asked the waiter or waitress to doggy bag up half of your meal to go and bring you only the remaining half. Ordering two appetizers instead of that entree is a favorite trick of dietitians. If you choose to go with tuna tartar and a side salad, for instance, you will have a balanced mix of protein, healthy carbs, healthy fats without a bunch of calories.



As a general rule of thumb, avoid any fried appetizers like jalapeno popes and anything as all that is covered in cheese. According to Mr Mike Moreno, the author of The 17-Day Diet, some fried apps are pack with the amount of fat that four people should have in a whole day. Salads may seem to us like the ultimate healthy order, but they can add unwanted calories and absurd amounts of saturated fat. In chain restaurants in particular, the meal salads tend to always come in an oversize bowl, packed with fattening extras like croutons and fried strips of chicken or bacon. The famous taco salads are especially likely to derail healthy- eating intentions. Which is often served in a fried tortilla shell that will have a bed of iceberg lettuce rather than the healthy mixed greens, and let me tell you, they are loaded with saturated fat ( from cheese, sour cream, ground beef, etc.) without giving you much in the way of some healthy vegetables.



Always look for a salad that will contain a lean protein such as salmon, chicken, edamame or chickpeas, ideally one source of fat (think avocado or cheese) and nutritious extras such as plain (that is, not candied) nuts or mushrooms. As I am sure you are aware of, salad dressing can be a source of healthy fats-or a creamy tasty, calorie-laden disaster. Going with olive oil and balsamic vinegar(with is my favorite) or a squeeze of lemon rather than prepared dressing will give you flavor without too many excess calories.( Please open up your understanding for what I am going to say) you are best off staying away from all of those low-fat dressings, though. They may seem like a good diet-friendly sub, these options are not as healthy as we thought they were.



Purdue University in 2012 did a study examine salads dressed with various types of fat, and what was found is, different levels of fat in the dressing limited the benefits of the salad. In order to receive more from eating vegetables and fruits they will need to be paired correctly with fat-based dressings, said Mario Ferruzzi, who is the lead author of the study’s. While a salad with the fat-free dressing is lower in calories, the absence of the fat causes the loss of some of the benefits of eating vegetables and fruits.



This might blow your mind, your anxiety level when you are eating out also will impact your ability to stick to your goals. Navigating a stressful meal out like a business lunch or a first date can prompt many of us to order all kinds of things that we normally wouldn’t have. Instead of anxious ordering, if you do find yourself stressed out at your table, excuse yourself, walkaway and take 6 to 12 deep breaths. Mindful breathing will move your body into a more relaxed state, which will allow you to have the right mindset to make thoughtful food choices.



Finally, my friends, always keep in mind that how you are talking about food-to others and to your become a big help for you to stick with your healthy-eating goals. In a study that was published in the Journal of Consumer Research, dieters who said “I don’t eat that instead of “I can’t eat that, when they are faced with the temptations were more successful at resisting treats and are more likely to choose a healthy snack. The researchers theorized that saying the words I don’t, will lend a feeling of self-control, instead of the forced deprivation implied by I can’t. So when that dessert cart come your way or your friend is asking you to split an order of onion rings or fries, hold your head up high with those shoulders back and try saying, I DON’T EAT THAT, you just may find that those four simple words help you to stick to your guns, and feeling happy about it.



May good health be always with you. Humbly your Paul Earl

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  1. Wow, I really love this site. I love the positive outlook on fitness. It makes me super excited about getting in shape and being healthy. Plus, I especially loved the pictures. Your site has great photography. But, how is it possible to still eat out and stay in shape? Because I never know how to make that possible. 

    1. Good afternoon Marlo,  I thank you for the kind words. I am very happy that this article motivates you to be and get into good shape. Only by being healthy can you truly live a quality life. As far as tips on how to eat healthy when you are eating out, the tips are within the article, please feel free to read again. If it is anything we can ever do for you please reach out to us. Thank you for visiting Weightlifting For A Beautiful World. May you be always in good health. Humbly your Paul Earl.

  2. Could not agree more.  My girlfriend and I are a both doing a vegan diet right now.  Previously we were eating out a lot and were also ordering a lot of really bad things.  They became almost addicting and that our bodies would want to go back to the same place and eat the cheesy meaty things and then have dessert afterwards.  Do you have a diet plan for vegans eating out?

    1. Good afternoon Chris, I think you for visiting Weightlifting For A Beautiful World. I definitely know about the battles that you must fight to eat right when you are eating out, this is one of the reasons I wrote this article. As far as any recommendations for a diet plan for vegans eating out, please read one of my articles that is titled AT ANY AGE YOU CAN BE FIT-HEALTHY. If it is anything that we can ever do for you please reach out to us. May you be always in good health. Humbly your Paul Earl.

      PS, Keep up the good fight.

  3. This is a topic I am very interested in.  Thank you for posting it.  Healthy Eating, especially Eating Out is a challenge.  I usually take a container with me so I can take half the meal home.  

    What other healthy options would you recommend?  Do you have favorite restaurants that you find promote healthy eating? I’m always on the lookout for new choices. Other than salads, do any fast food places have healthy choices?  Do you recommend a certain type of cooking?

    Currently I am eating less meat and enjoying a salad with feta, olives, greens and tomatoes and Parmesan.  That one picture looks like my dinner!

    Thanks again,


    1. Good evening Barbara, because I do eat out a lot, is what gave me the idea to write this article. I see you have already embrace one of my tips, I also do the doggy bag haha, I do that all of the time. If you will come back to my website, read a article titled AT ANY AGE YOU CAN BE FIT-HEALTHY, I have recommendations there for food, that I believe will interest you. As far as a place to recommend for you to eat healthy it depends on what city you are living in, I live in Boston. I am very happy that you are tapering down on your intake of meat, too much meat is not good for you. Eat all of the salmon that you possibly can, pink is better. Have something green at every meal, eat some citrus fruit everyday, if you would do this, good health will increase. I thank you for visiting Weightlifting For A Beautiful World. If it is anything that we can do for you please reach out to us. May you be always in good health. Humbly your Paul Earl.

  4. You’re absolutely right regarding menu research beforehand. I do this every single time, or did this. These days, depending on which restaurant I’m heading to, I know what I’m ordering and therefore don’t even need a menu these days. Better yet, most of the staff knows my choice these days. What are some other good methods to teach those with zero experience in prepping before their restaurant visit that they can utilize to better keep them on track?

    1. Good evening Todd, the reason I had wrote this articles was to help people fight the good fight of eating healthy when they’re out dining. I was literally at a restaurant fighting the good fight when it came to my mind to write this article. However it seems to me you already have it together cuz the very things that you are doing are some of what I recommending. Other than what you have already read, don’t go to a restaurant where you know there are things unhealthy there that you really like and it’s probably going to be a larger temptation than you can handle. So I say to you my friend keep up the good fight. I think you for visiting Weightlifting For A Beautiful World, if it is ever anything that we can do for you please reach out to us. May you be always in good health.

  5. Those four words are miraculous, even if you just think them in your head and don’t say it out loud! “I don’t eat that!” Saying “I can’t” seems to have the opposite effect. Anytime you think you can’t, a feeling of deprivation sets in, right? But saying “I don’t” gives you your power back. I love that!

    You mentioned the rats who lost weight when their sense of smell was shut down. You will notice when cooking with fat the food smells so good. It is because fat is what carries the aroma into the air. Cooking the same food without fat, that yummy aroma is greatly reduced!

    Enjoyed your article – thank you!

    1. Good evening Joyce, you got it, by saying I don’t eat that gives your consciousness the power to turn your back on that no good unhealthy food, Hallelujah on that. Yes, you are correct about the fat, without cooking in that fat that yummy aroma that you smell when you walk into a Chinese restaurant or Italian restaurant disappears. To give up this food of poison is a very small price to pay to be able to live a long healthy quality life. I was actually dining at a very will-known Italian restaurant in Boston when the Idea came to me to write this article, believe me when I say I was fighting the good fight, and I won by using those powerful words. If it’s anything that we can ever do for you please let us know. I thank you for visiting Weightlifting For A Beautiful World. May you be always in good health. Humbly your Paul Earl. 

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