Eating Out on a Diet: How to Find Calorie Counts

One of the biggest hazards to your diet can be restaurant foods if you are not careful. It is hard to judge the calorie count of foods from the menu description. While your homemade broiled chicken breast is lean and healthy, a restaurant breast can be a very different dish.

Some people resolve this problem by avoiding restaurants while dieting. But this is not really the answer because it may lead you to go off the diet or to choose poorly when you do go out. It may also be hard to stay on a diet this way if you are used to going out often. The best answer to this problem is to try to get an accurate calorie count for the foods on the menu so that you can make informed, healthy choices.

Diet-Friendly Fast Food Nutrition Data

How to Find Calorie Counts

In fast-food restaurants, there are some obvious choices. French fries are most likely loaded with fat and calories everywhere you go. But some of the foods are harder to discern. Salads can be a good choice, but they are also sometimes loaded with calories from high-fat dressings or toppings.

The best thing to do is check the fast food restaurant before leaving the house. Find the nutrition data on the company’s website or on other comparison websites. You can print out the nutrition data and keep it in the glove compartment of the car so that you will have it when you need it. Another alternative is to check the company’s website and choose the best dishes on the menu. Keep a list of the healthiest choices at each fast food place and use this to decide where to go and what to order.

If you have not planned ahead and checked the website, ask the server for the information. They usually have printed sheets available, but they do not give them out unless you ask. After all, you might not want to order so much if you knew how many calories the food contained. They definitely don’t want to discourage you by giving you that information unless you ask. Many states are considering or passing laws to require restaurants to put this information on the menu.

Diet-Friendly Restaurant Meals: Finding Nutrition Information for Restaurants

Most of the larger restaurants have the nutrition information for their foods available in one form or another. You may find the information on their websites, but more than likely you will need to request it from the corporate office. The corporate headquarters contact information will be listed on the website. You can call ahead and find the best choices, or store the phone number on your phone to use at the restaurant. Be aware of the hours that the offices are open, however.

Another alternative is to ask the server for information. This will be your best bet when going to smaller restaurants or local restaurants that are family-run. The server may know the best choices, or they can ask the chef. Specify that you want dressings and high-calorie ingredients on the side so that you can control the portion.

Once you have obtained the nutrition information for your favorite restaurants, store it for future use. You can organize it by restaurant in a binder to make it easy to refer to. You might not want to bother with this if you eat out only occasionally, but if you are a regular restaurant patron, it can save you a lot of time and calories.

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