Even if you order seemingly healthy dishes, your restaurant habit is likely derailing your weight loss efforts.
It’s been a long day, you’re tired, and the last thing you want to do is trudge to the grocery store and slave over the stove to make dinner. But hold up; don’t tell your hubby to meet you at your favorite restaurant just yet—especially if you’re trying to shed weight. According to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, nearly all restaurant entrées carry more calories than you should eat in a single meal. Even worse, a fair number of restaurants manage to load their meals with an entire day's worth of calories! Seesh!
To come to this stomach-churning discovery, researchers from Tufts University visited both independent and chain restaurants across the country and purchased dozens of popular entrees from gyros and spaghetti to meatballs to burritos. Upon analyzing the grub, they found that 92 percent of the entrées contained more than 570 calories, which is the recommended intake per meal for an adult woman. Shockingly, the independent restaurant entrées were worse than the chains, carrying 1,205 belly-bloating calories per dish, on average. The worst offenders: American, Chinese, and Italian joints. They were the most caloric of the bunch, packing an average of 1,495 big ones per plate. (FYI: That’s more calories than some dieters eat in an entire day when they’re looking to trim down!)
If the world were a place where carpools didn’t exist and no one had to work to survive, we’d suggest reserving restaurant visits for birthdays and other special occasions. But this is real life, and odds are pretty good that you’ll wind up giving your order to a waitress at least once a week—if not more—no matter what we say. That said, here's your stay-slim game plan: With the help of these 25 Tips to Cook Once and Eat for a Week, aim to prep the majority of your weekday meals over the weekend. Sure, that requires some extra work on Sunday, but that means you won’t have to roll up your sleeves in the kitchen after a long day at the office during the week. There's more good news: A 2014 study found that people who consistently cook at home save an average of 140 calories a day, which equals one pound of fat—poof, gone—after just 25 days. And if you still find that you’re dining out once or twice a week, don’t sweat it! Just employ some of the tips in our exclusive report, How to Eat Out at Any Restaurant and Still Lose Weight, to stay on track towards achieving your flat-abs fantasy.