4 ways to outsmart diet disasters

Published on March 05 2009 - 8:36 AM
Going to a movie before dinner is a recipe for diet disaster. I used to end up sharing a large (translation: humongous) popcorn with my husband and sneaking some of his Sour Patch Kids to boot. I left the theater feeling full but hadn’t eaten any “real” food. Now, before I go to a show, I try to have a dinner with plenty of lean protein and fiber to keep me satisfied, such as Seared Steak Salad with Edamame & Cilantro. Then I’m not ravenous at the movie and I’m content to split a small popcorn. It took a little trial and error to find a healthy-eating solution but it’s one that works!

Get the recipe: Seared Steak Salad with Edamame & Cilantro

Perhaps you’re plagued with different diet-busting situations? Try these quick fixes.

Problem #1: You crave something sweet. Solution: Budget lower-calorie treats into your day. I look forward to having a Double-Chocolate Biscotti (under 100 calories!) with a cup of coffee after dinner.

Problem #2: Your stomach is growling. Solution: Pack your diet with foods that help you to feel full on fewer calories. Studies show that soups and salads are particularly satisfying.

Problem #3: You want to gorge yourself on snacks. Solution: Eat snacks that come in single-serving packages—or measure one serving into a bowl. When it’s gone, you’re done. Or make your own snacks, such as Cheesy Popcorn—just 75 calories for 1 cup.

Problem #4: Everything on the restaurant menu looks delicious. Solution: Elaborate restaurant dishes often are filled with hidden calories, so order something simple, such as a piece of lean meat, chicken or fish, which usually comes with a starch and a vegetable. Restaurant meals tend to be supersized, so learn how to estimate a standard serving size and eat just that. Pack up the rest for tomorrow’s lunch.

Nicci Micco is co-author of EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management.