While there’s a lot to be said about homemade cooking and how it helps you lose weight and save money, the fact of the matter is that it’s likely you’ll want to go out to eat once in a while. Whether you’re going out with friends or there’s a certain place that makes guacamole like nowhere else, there’s absolutely no reason why you should deny yourself the pleasures of restaurant dining every so often, even if you’re on a budget and trying to live healthily.
Just like with anything else in life, there’s a positive, intelligent way to go about eating out on a budget and there’s the not-so-good way. Here are some times to avoid the not-so-good-way.
First, try going out for lunch rather than dinner. Most restaurants are cheaper at lunch and the food is just as good. Many restaurants even offer special business lunches, which have multiple courses and are usually steals. Even better, lunch food has a tendency to be lighter than dinner courses, so eating out at lunch may offer you healthier choices than the dinner menu will.
If the place you love to go has large portions, try dining out with another health conscious friend and split the plate. The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of restaurants have enormous portions, and digging in to that chili dog meal alone is an excellent way to blow your calorie count out of the water for the rest of the day. Alternatively, ask for a doggie bag and take half your meal home to eat later – after a spot of exercise, perhaps!
Order vegetarian. Many restaurants these days offer vegetarian options ” or will at least listen if you tell them to hold the meat. This depends highly on what kind of restaurant you are at, as you’re likely to be unable to ask the guy making you a burger to “hold the meat” However, if there is a vegetarian option available, it’s likely to be lower in calories and just as delicious as its meat-laden counterpart.
Last, make it a point to skip dessert. Now, one of the cardinal rules of dieting is not to be overly cruel to yourself, but the fact of the matter is that a giant sundae is likely to have more calories than the rest of your meal combined and will definitely add some dollars to your bill. Enjoy eating out, of course, but don’t go overboard!