Tips To Get Calories Out Of Restaurant Food



You may have seen the advice on how to shave calories at restaurants but really, Do you want to pay high restaurant prices for naked salads and plain steamed vegetables? If not, how then can you solve the dilemma of too many calories when you eat out?

Here I have six tips for getting the calories out of restaurant meals while still ordering your favorites.

1. Do not super size. The size you ordered is already too big. If you stop super sizing you will then save more money. Better, order one dinner and ask for an extra plate. Many restaurants will do this for a dollar or two, and it is well worth it. Then share that meal with your friend and you split the cost in half. Or another option is to order from the so called “appetizer” menu. Two people could order three entrees, one dessert and split the whole thing and that right there is still a lot of food!

2. Ditch the bread and rolls. Many family restaurants still serve a bread basket with your meal. If it is not a fresh baked loaf or some really special, spectacular bread, just skip it. There’s no need to fill up on ordinary bread when you’re paying good money for a meal. Make sense? Simply ask that it be taken away if you can’t resist, but most likely you’re an adult, you can resist, if you want to. You can simply choose not to put a roll on your plate. Try it, just once and see if you don’t prance out that restaurant feeling powerful.

If you can’t resist the rolls, at least skip the butter. Eat it plain. Whole grain bread is delicious all by itself.

3. Stop Ordering Drinks. Did you know that soft drinks are a huge cash cow for restaurants. For pennies they sell you a squirt of syrup and carbonated water and act like they’re doing you a big favor by only charging you $1.29 for a giant 64 ounce soda. You better start saving those dollars. Especially if you’re ordering “to go” skip the drink. If you’re eating it there, ask for water, or at least switch to diet drinks. But Never drink “fat pop.”

4. Trim Visible Fat and Skin. I know, you really love the skin–of course you do, it tastes good, it should, it’s pure fat. Do you want to get leaner, or do you want to eat fat? You choose. I never eat chicken skin and never eat the visible fat hanging off a steak, good taste or no. You have to decide what you want more, the second’s worth of pleasure of a yummy taste, or a lifetime of carrying around an extra 40 lbs? I know this is counter to the low carb crowd’s belief that fat is good, carbs are evil, but I’ve maintained an 80 pound weight loss for 18 years without dieting and I don’t eat visible fat or skin. Enough said.

5. Ask for a Bag or a To-Go plate at the Beginning of Meal. When the food is served, immediately portion off some to take home for tomorrow. Most restaurants in the US will serve way too much. There is no law that you actually have to eat it all. Do this often and you’ll then find that you’re getting an extra lunch out of that meal.

6. Get a copy of Restaurant Confidential by Michael F. Jacobson and Jayne Hurley, and start checking out how many calories you’re really eating. If you eat out regularly and you carry extra weight, then that might possibly be the problem right there. This little book can help you realize why it seems you don’t eat that much yet you can’t lose any weight. Hardees recently introduced a new burger that clocks in at just under 1200 calories all by itself! Now I think that’s frightening.

If you really want to get a handle on your weight problem, you have to make changes. Look first to where you eat, then at what you eat, and lastly how much you eat. Try these steps choosing one tip at a time and see how easily you can take some of the calories out of restaurant food.


  1. You can wing it for sure, or you can try and calculate on your own.

    My favourite diner doesn’t have cals listed either. I asked the waitress if she knew or could find out any of the nutritional info. She came back with the nutrition label on the buns and told me their homemade burger patties were about 1/4 pound and just spices added to the ground beef. From there I could figure out the rest. I entered all this as a meal in MFP and now I have a pretty good idea what their burgers are. 🙂

    I’m not going to do this every time I’m in a restaurant of course, but when I know I visit a place more frequently then I try to figure out my favourites!

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