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Don't Derail Your Diet

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A new study has found that up to two thirds of women worry that eating at restaurants will ruin their diet plans. It's true that restaurant meals can be packed with unnecessary calories, but we also think it's no fun to give up eating in restaurants altogether. The solution? Here are our top five tips for dining out without over-indulging.
1. 1. Check out the menu before you go. It's a rare restaurant these days that doesn't have their menu posted online, so have a look at it before you go to see what kind of choices they have, and plan accordingly - it means that you'll be less likely to impulsively order something that is doused in cheese and butter (not that there's anything wrong with cheese and butter, of course).
2. 2. 'Shall we get a bottle?' It's a classic line uttered at the beginning of many a restaurant meal, but be strong - if it's just the two of you, opt for a glass and save 200-300 calories...which you can then consume in the form of dessert if you fancy it.
3. 3. Do you really need three courses? Probably not. Of course there is something to be said for the gracious pace of a three-course meal on a special occasion, but if you're concerned about calories, split a starter or a dessert with your companion and focus on your main. And feel free to eschew the side dishes, too: unless you order a plain salad or steamed veg, they tend to be cheese-laden.
4. 4. Order off-menu. It may make your waiter frown, but you are paying for this meal - so you should be able to eat what you want to. Obviously, you're not going to be able to get a lasagne without cheese or cream, but if there's a dish centered around a piece of chicken or fish, chances are you'll be able to get them to grill it instead of frying it. And don't forget that you can almost always ask for sauce to be served on the side - it doesn't look as pretty, but it will help you control how much you consume.
5. 5. Say no to the latte. We love lingering over a post-dinner coffee as much as the next person (especially if our dining companion is a handsome one), but even a skinny latte packs 160 calories. By contrast? A black coffee with milk and no sugar has about 20. Feel free to go crazy and have two.

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