Managing Meals when Dining Out

Managing Meals when Dining Out

By Simone Bourner APD

Does the thought of eating a meal out make you so stressed you just want to pack it all in? Do you feel that you have no control at a restaurant? Dining out is a normal part of our lifestyle (or at least was… and will be again) and sometimes cannot be avoided so here we give our tips on how to best manage your meals out without turning it into a blow-out.


  • Plan ahead – if you have some say in the location, choose a site with healthy menu options. Check the menu at home and plan your meal in advance.
  • Make it an occasion – dress up and view it as a treat rather than an everyday event.
  • Watch portion sizes- order an entrée size meal as a main, go for tapas style meals, share a main with a friend and keep in mind that you will enjoy the foods you desire more if you eat them in moderation and know that they are not negatively impacting your weight management efforts. Ask yourself is this quality food that I will enjoy eating? Is it going to make me feel good?
  • Be assertive and ask for meals the way you would like it – for example ask for no bread and extra salad instead, dressings and sauces on the side so you have control over how much is used, grilled fish over fried or vegetables over french fries. Did you know we actually have a Jordaan surgical business card that states you have had a procedure requiring smaller meals to help avoid the awkward conversation when out? Ask us for a card when you are in next.
  • Avoid creamy and fried options on the menu and ideally aim for choices with vegetables or salad.
  • Check in with yourself and your symptoms when eating. Eat slowly, remember to chew and aim for a point of satisfaction not fullness. Remember it is more than okay not to finish a meal.
  • Remember to split your food and drinks. If you want to enjoy a drink, order it upon arrival and sip while others eat their entrees. You should be done ready to eat once the food for mains arrives.


Afterwards evaluate how you managed your meal- which strategies worked well, which not so much and whether there were factors you didn’t account for. This will help in your planning for future events.

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