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Dining Out? Plan Ahead!

From birthdays to barbecues, social events can be risky for your weight loss plan. Social events typically bring together friends, family and an abundance of food. Whether you’re new to a diet plan or not, dining out or navigating your way through a cocktail party can be tricky. Without a nutrition label stamped onto your entrée plate, it’s hard to tell whether foods are in line with your diet or not. But don’t worry -- we’ve got your back! Here are some helpful tips to get you started.


  • Salads are great -- just be sure to avoid any fried toppings or a pile of cheese.
  • Opt for oil and vinegar -- creamy dressings can be loaded with calories.
  • Start off with a small salad or a broth-based soup -- it may curb your appetite and prevent you from overeating.
  • Feast on appetizers that feature vegetables or fruits cooked in a sensible (aka diet-friendly fashion), like foods that are not double-fried and drowning in gravy.
  • Avoid filling up on bread and butter at the start of your meal. If you’re craving carbs, ask for a whole-grain roll or breadstick instead.


  • Trim off any visible fat, if you order a meat or poultry dish. Stick to a fist-sized portion to keep things light.
  • Opt for dishes that are cooked in a healthy way. Even healthy foods can be made not-so-healthy depending on the cooking method. Typically, dishes that are grilled, steamed or broiled are best.
  • Ask to have your food prepared without added salt or MSG. Lemon or fresh herbs can be a great substitute.
  • Ask for double veggies -- preferably steamed or fresh to add bulk to your meal.
  • Split a plate with a friend to better manage your portion control. Restaurant portions tend to be on the large-side.
  • Prepare for a meal by doing your research! Many restaurants provide their menu online. You can do your nutritional research before you even step into a restaurant to save time.


  • Opt for a fruit-based dessert, they’re often healthier.
  • Share one dessert with a friend or the whole group. One dessert, four forks please!


  • Calories from alcohol can add up fast -- indulge in moderation.
  • Choose light beers or add seltzer water to your hard liquor or wine to lighten up your cocktail.
  • Avoid sugary alcoholic beverages. Typically anything with an umbrella or with fruit juices will be loaded with sugar.

Don’t miss out on social gatherings and dinner dates just because you’re following a diet plan. You can still reach your weight loss goals and be the life of the party -- just be sure to tackle social situations with the tips above.