The Essential Guide to Eating Out while on the Dukan Diet
If just a year ago you’d told me that I would be writing an article on how to eat out while sticking to a diet I would have definitely not believed you. However I am now proud to say that the Dukan Diet has not only taught me that eating out doesn’t necessarily mean binging but it has also allowed me a lot more flexibility when it comes to eating at a restaurant compared to any other diet I have ever followed. I’ve now stopped dreading social events and I am very happy to share what I have learnt so far with you all.
Here are my top tips:
I always find that knowing what the restaurant I’m going to has on offer helps me order the right things when I get there. Because most restaurants have the menus available on their websites, I tend to have a good look beforehand and most times even decide what I’m going to go for. If you can’t see anything that takes your fancy or if you can’t spot anything that would be suitable for the Dukan plan, then you can even give the restaurant a call and perhaps ask if they can modify one of their recipes to fit the diet.
P+V Days are Best
Making your trip to a restaurant coincide with a protein and vegetable day makes eating out a lot easier, even if this perhaps means having 2 pure-protein days in a row. I’ve tried this little trick on quite a few occasions so far and found that gives me a lot more flexibility when it comes to picking a main course and sticking to the plan at the same time.
Don’t Arrive at the Restaurant with an Empty Belly
One of the biggest mistakes of all has got to be arriving at a restaurant while feeling very hungry. Instead of cutting down what I eat, whenever I know I’ll be eating out I always make sure I have plenty of food during the day. This ensures I get to the restaurant with a full belly and generally feel more motivated to stick to the plan because I am not starving. From a psychological point of view, I find this also reinforces the idea that eating out can be part of a normal routine and there aren’t really any drastic measures to be taken.
Starters are far Better than Puds
I know only too well what it’s like being on a diet and see everyone ordering a 3 course meal! Well, I find that starters are not completely off the Dukan menu and I normally tend to order one so that I don’t feel too left out. Most restaurants offer great options: think smoked salmon, scallops, soups (without bread!), chicken skewers.. Puddings are obviously a no-no, however ordering a nice starter will more than make up for missing out on the dessert as you’ll probably find yourself already full when the waiter comes round for dessert orders.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
As well as sticking to soft drinks such as Diet Coke, whenever I go to a restaurant I always make sure I order a big jug of water so that I have plenty to drink throughout the meal. This helps me ensure I have the one and half litres of water as prescribed by Dr Dukan and generally makes me feel fuller so that I’m not tempted to order too much.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask
There is nothing wrong in asking for a steak with extra salad and without chips or a stir fry without rice. Restaurants are used to all kinds of requests and will be more than happy to help you out – after all, the customer is always right!
I also find that, from a psychological point of view, ensuring anything I don’t want doesn’t turn up on my plate is a lot more effective than just thinking to yourself “I will just not eat it” and then have that temptation right in front of you.
Order a la Carte
Ordering a la carte, rather than picking from a set menu, is much better as it gives you more flexibility and choice. On top of that, set menus normally tend to include whatever is cheaper for the restaurant, hence why they often contain lots of carbs such as chips and rice and not enough proteins for a dukaner.
Don’t be Afraid of Letting People Know You’re on a Diet
This is one I find it hard to explain myself but for years I have sort of felt ashamed of letting people know I was on a diet. Perhaps it’s the fear of failure, I’m not sure, but I have come across many dieters like me who don’t generally tend to talk about it unless it’s with close family and friends. Well, I can honestly say that since I started talking about it openly it has actually made my Dukan journey a lot easier, at work in particular. My colleagues now avoid offering me taboo foods whilst in the office and, whenever we go and eat out, we always pick somewhere we all enjoy and which offers plenty of protein foods for me.