When you’re eating at a restaurant and you’re on a diet, it is very important to make the right selections for your meals. The problem is that many free restaurants that ruin your diet are commonplace in these establishments.
Most restaurants are filled with little “traps” that could cause you to ruin your weight loss efforts, even when you feel as though you have made all of the right choices. That’s the problem with free restaurant items that ruin your diet. Most of them seem small and innocent. They’re completely unsuspecting so it’s simple to have too many or too much of them.
Which Free Restaurant Items That Ruin Your Diet Affect You?
Some of the most dangerous items to your dieting efforts are those that are offered by nearly all restaurants for free with your meal. These are the items that can rapidly cause your calories, fats, and/or carbs to skyrocket, even when the meal itself was wisely selected. It only takes a few free add-ons to turn that ultra light garden salad into a high calorie and high fat disaster.
Consider the following free restaurant items that can ruin your diet and send it completely off its rails:
- Bread – Nearly any sit-down restaurant will offer a basket of bread, rolls, breadsticks, or other similar options. These days, they’re often artisan styles and whole grain, making them seem like a healthier choice. They’re also great to fill the void while you wait for your meal to be prepared.
Unfortunately, this can cause you to add hundreds of calories to your meal. Moreover, you’ll tack on a large number of carbs without even noticing. This food that you don’t think of as “counting” can force your calorie count upward. Worst of all, it can make it much harder for you to lose weight.
- Butter or oil – It’s not just the free bread that can send your calories skyward. It’s also what you spread onto it. Spreading pat after pat of butter onto your bread can pack hundreds of calories onto every slice or roll.
The same can be said about dipping it into oil and vinegar can easily. It tastes great, but it can double the calories of every bite. It can also destroy your macronutrient balance for the day. Naturally, you should feel welcome to have your bread and butter if you want it, but just make sure you’re taking it into account when you make your choices for the rest of the meal, too.
After all, an additional 200 to 300 calories tacked onto your dinner make it easy to see why these are free restaurant items that can ruin your diet unless consumed with care.
- Other condiments – Other condiments can also spike the calorie, fat, sodium and sugar levels in any of your meals. These are free restaurant items that can ruin your diet while appearing completely invisible. Mayo, creamy dips, guacamole, and even too much ketchup and relish can mean you’re getting far more than you expected with your meal. Enjoy your meal, but eat to taste instead of trying to fill up on sauces, dips and condiments.
- Salad dressing – That clever choice of a garden salad can rapidly go from a low calorie and low fat dinner selection to a dieting nightmare with the choice of the wrong salad dressing. Stay away from creamy dressings or sugary sweet options.
Instead, either learn to love your salad without it, or opt for a simple combination of olive oil and balsamic vinegar – a balsamic vinaigrette. Alternately, other simple vinaigrettes such as a raspberry vinaigrette or Italian dressing can control fat and calorie intake, too. This way, while you will still be adding some fat, it will be healthy fats that will assist the body to lose weight.
Ask for the dressing on the side so that you can add only as much as you need instead of drowning each leaf. This simple technique can go a long way to keep your calories where they should be.
- Other toppings – Other toppings offered can completely alter your meal’s balance. Parmesan cheese for your salad or pasta is a great example of free restaurant items that ruin your diet. A sprinkling is one thing, but if your meal looks like it just experienced a fresh snowfall, then you’ll risking packing on some winter pounds, too. Opt for a light dusting or, even better, choose fresh ground pepper, instead!
- Free refills – Many restaurants will allow you to refill your beverage for free, particularly if you have ordered soft drinks or coffee. Soda is one of the fastest ways to spike your calories and should be avoided completely throughout your entire diet. If you are treating yourself to one rare glass of soda, it won’t be an issue.
However, you need to make sure that you don’t fall victim to the “bottomless glass” that will send your sugar based caloric intake out of control. Although coffee is extremely low in calories, that’s only if you drink it black. Avoid drinking one after the next that has been sweetened with sugar or honey and softened with milk or cream.