When it comes to losing weight, there are many advantages to cooking your meals at home.  The more often you eat out the more you increase your chances of gaining weight.  However, in the end you are in control of your weight loss.  There are a number of ways you can take control of the amount of calories you consume.  The following are some tips to help you stay in control of losing weight, even if you can’t prepare all your meals at home.

chicken-stir-fryPortion Sizes

The biggest challenge to eating out is portion sizes.  Many restaurants exceed the recommended portions for adults.  Fast food restaurants serve portions that are two to four times larger than they were twenty years ago.  Since most people eat more when they are served larger portions this creates the potential for overeating.  Home-cooking gives you more control over the portion size and the calories you consume.  However, you can take control of this situation.  Divide your meal as soon as it arrives at the table.  Placing half of your meal in a to-go box gives you control over the calories you consume.

Food Choices

Many restaurant meals come with high-fat meat and unhealthy side dishes.  However, you have the opportunity to make healthy substitutions.  Avoid fries or foods loaded with butter and sour cream.  Instead choose vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.  These foods significantly increase the nutrients that you will receive and decrease the calories you’re consuming.

Time Management

Time management can be a real problem for people attempting to lose weight.  At the end of a busy day it can be easier to stop at the drive through and pick up a convenience food than to come home and cook dinner.  However, planning ahead makes it easier to enjoy healthy meals.  Try planning meals ahead for the entire week.  Shop once and prepare as many foods as possible ahead of time.  Clean and chop fresh vegetables and leave them in your fridge or lunch box for healthy, easy snacks.

Already Prepared Meals

Another option is to purchase meals that are already prepared for you.  Many weight loss programs offer the option to purchase pre-packaged meals.  These meals are still a healthier choice than restaurant food and give you the ease of little or no preparation.

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