When on a diet or actively engaged in weight control, eating out is always thought of as a challenge – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some practical tips for portion control when eating out:
Share your meal with a friend.
When you are planning on eating out, to whatever extent possible, never go alone. Always take a friend or a family member. If you are two, order for one and ask for an empty plate or glass. This straight away reduces the portion by half and helps you in food portion control. If your friend does not need to practice food portion control, he or she can always order something in addition to the food that has been ordered.
Leave something on your plate.
Sometimes, you are hungry and it is just not practical to wait or call a friend. When this happens, you don’t have to fear eating out. All you need to do is to remember that you do not have to eat everything that is in the plate or drink everything that is in the glass or cup. When the food arrives, ask for an empty plate and serve yourself whatever food portion size is appropriate for you. The rest can be left or taken home. While some folks see it as unchristian to leave food in the plate, I say it would be criminal to stuff yourself with more than you need.
Visualize your food on the plate before filling it up.
Sometimes you are at a place where the meal is laid out on the table. Before you even pick up a plate, do a visual check on the food that has been kept ready. See if there is grain, pulses, meat, bread, yogurt, vegetables, salads, eggs, etc. Once you have a fair idea of what is available, make a mental picture of the food you would select to have a balanced meal.
Pick yourself a smaller plate if available and mentally divide the plate into four parts one each for grains and pulses (or bread), proteins, vegetables and fruit. Proceed to serve yourself in small quantities ensuring that all four food groups are present in your plate. Some dread buffet meals. I say buffet meals are ideal when you need food portion control because you not only get to choose your food; you also get to select the right portion size for yourself. There is absolutely no wastage.
If a friend or host has piled your plate with food, you do not have to eat it all.
Just eat your usual food portion and discreetly discard the rest. Even if someone sees you discarding the food, you can always say you are not feeling too well. If the food on your plate is not a balanced meal, you can either add a couple of items to balance the meal or simply discard any excess food. No one can force you to eat.
Read some more tips to eating out healthy.