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Dining out Success Tips
Do you think you can't eat out at a restaurant if you're on a weight loss program?
With a little planning and by making wise choices, you can create a healthy dining out experience without hindering your weight loss efforts.
If you are like most people, you enjoy dining out. That's okay. In order to maintain consistent calories and to achieve results with your weight management, though, dining out should be limited during the early phase of your program.
To decide what to eat when dining out, start by asking these questions:
- “How is this meal or entrée prepared?
- “What are the ingredients used in the meal?”
- “May I make a special request to get my meal the way I want it?”
Review the tables below to help you:
- Identify low-fat cooking methods to choose vs. higher-fat cooking methods to limit.
|Go Ahead: Healthier Preparation Methods||Stop and Think: High Fat Preparation Methods|
- Identify high-fat menu terms to limit.
|Beware: High-fat menu terms|
- Identify lean meats to choose vs. higher fat meats to limit.
|Think: Lean Meats||Steer Clear: Higher-Fat Meats|
|Beef (sirloin, flank, tenderloin)||Beef (ground, prime rib, filet mignon)|
|Fish, shellfish||Fried fish, fried shellfish|
|Skinless poultry||Fried poultry or poultry with skin|
- Identify menu substitutions for lower-fat and healthier items.
|Guacamole or Sour Cream||Salsa|
|French fries or onion rings||Baked sweet potato wedges or carrot fries|
|White bread or rolls||Whole wheat bread or rolls|
- If you know ahead of time that you will be dining out, create a plan for success with your Jenny Craig Consultant.
- Review the Dining Out Guide for menu options, review the menu online to pre-select your meal or call ahead for the restaurant “specials.”
- Refer to the “Meal On My Own” section on the back of your menu and compare your menu selection to the “Meal On My Own” servings.
- Eat a Soupitizer® Soup before leaving for the restaurant to help manage your appetite.
- If going to a buffet or potluck, be the first in line so that you aren't influenced by others' choices and use the USDA MyPlate as your model plate for health — fill 1/2 of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 of your plate with a starch such as rice or a potato and 1/4 of your plate with lean meat, such as skinless poultry or beef tenderloin (3-4 oz).
- Watch the Dining Out Webisode.
- Watch the Volumetrics® Webisode for tips on incorporating Free Foods into your meal.
- Remember that drinking beverages does not enhance satisfaction the way that water-rich solid foods do. Alcohol adds extra calories and provides minimal nutrients.
Tips for Ordering
- Visualize your Jenny's Cuisine® entrées as a comparison to the portion sizes served at the restaurant. You can also use the visual cues on page 15 of the Pocket Guide to Volumetricsâ or the tip card in the back of your Dine Out Guide to help with portion control.
- Start with a salad. You can even bring along a packet of your Jenny's Dressing.
- Choose a bolded “Meal On My Own” menu selection in your Jenny Craig Dine Out Guide.
- If the options that you see on the menu are all high in fat and calories, ask your server for a special request such as substituting a grilled sirloin steak for the chicken fried steak.
- Exchange a high-calorie, high-fat dessert for a cup of seasonal fruit. If you do order a high-calorie, high-fat dessert, share it with your friends.
- Ask for gravies and sauces on the side and practice the “Dip and Drip” technique —dip your fork, then lightly drip over the food to enjoy more flavor with fewer calories.
Right-Size Your Portions
- Order an appetizer as your main dish.
- Share your entrée with a friend.
- Request a “to go box” when you order, then pack up half your entrée before beginning your meal.
- At fast food restaurants, order the “single” or “small” size.
Beware of Beverages
- Choose a no-calorie or lower-calorie beverage options such as sparkling water, diet soda or sugar-free iced tea.
- Keep in mind that over-indulging in alcohol can numb your hunger cues, making it easier to overeat. If you choose to include alcohol with your meal, it's best to limit the amount.
Including a Splurge
- A “splurge” is equal to 250 calories. Talk to your consultant for help with adding a “splurge” to your meal to include a larger serving or higher calorie menu item. Increasing your physical activity will help you to balance the additional calories in your “splurge”.
- Keep in mind that including a “splurge” should be only used on special occasions; if included on a daily basis this will slow down your weight loss.
- You can find more information about splurges on the Quick Tip Card located in the back of your Dine Out Guide.
- Some examples of splurges are shown below:
|All of these foods contain ~250 calories||All of these activities will burn ~250 calories (based on a 200 lb person)*|
|>5 oz wine and two 2-inch pieces bruschetta||Walking the dog (3 mph) — 50 minutes|
|Tall nonfat mocha w/ whipped cream||Running (6 mph) — 15 minutes|
|Brownie (4” square, unfrosted)||Dancing — 50 minutes|
|1 dinner roll with 1 tsp butter or margarine||Mall walking (4 mph) — 30 minutes|
*Blair SN, Dunn AL, Marcus BH, et al. Active Living Every Day: 20 Steps to Lifelong Vitality. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2001.
Meal On My Own
- Use your “Meal On My Own” servings to plan your dining out meal that fits into your menu. You can find “Meal On My Own” servings on the back of your menu. Serving sizes differ depending upon your calorie level.
- Remember to add Free Foods to your meals using the Volumetrics® Approach so you feel satisfied.
Use the Volumetrics® Approach to Increase the Volume of your Meal
- Volumetrics® is an eating approach designed to help control hunger and enhance satiety, while managing calories to lose weight. Based on the research of Barbara Rolls, PhD, the Volumetrics® Approach provides a practical way to enjoy nutritious and satisfying foods for weight management and optimal health.
- Start your meal with a broth-based soup or have a Soupitizer® before leaving home (1 Soupitizer® is equal to 2 Limited Free servings).
- Add an extra serving or two of non-starchy vegetables, such as asparagus, carrots or green beans to your meal.
- Add a garden salad to your meal.
- Order fresh strawberries or watermelon for dessert (1/2 cup is equal to 1 Limited Free serving)
Savor the Flavor
- In addition to learning what to eat when dining out, it is important to remember to focus on how to eat. Whether it's dinner with friends or lunch on the run, focus on slowing down to savor the flavor by using this technique:
- Take a breath.
- Take a sip of water.
- Appreciate the beauty of the food.
- Take a single bite.
- Chew slowly.
- Notice the flavor and texture.
- Swallow slowly before taking your next bite.
- Pause mid-meal to check your appetite.
- Listen to your hunger/satisfaction signals.
- Stop when you are satisfied.
Utilize your Support
Jenny Craig has many tools to help you make healthier, lower-fat choices when dining out.
- Ask your consultant for assistance with planning your dining out occasions.
- Use your Dine Out Guide to plan your meals in advance.
- The Weight Loss Manual as well as the Mastery Manual can be used as additional resources for dining out tips.
Track Your “Wins”
- Review all the tools that are available to help you, such as your Jenny Craig Consultant, the Dine Out Guide, the Weight Loss Manual and the Mastery Manual, to enjoy a dining out experience without sacrificing your weight loss efforts.
- Don’t forget to write in your dining out meal in the “Other Planned/Unplanned Foods Eaten and Why” section of your menu as well as the dining out techniques that you used in the “Your Wins of the Week” section and discuss your experience with your consultant.
VOLUMETRICS® is a federally registered trademark of Barbara Rolls used under exclusive license by Jenny Craig, Inc.
Rolls BJ. The Volumetrics Eating Plan. New York, NY: Harper; 2007.
Rolls BJ, Barnett RA. The Volumetrics Weight-Control Plan. New York, NY: Quill; 2000.
All trademarks are owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, or used with permission.