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Enjoy Food Dates Without Wrecking Your Diet

Try these tips to make those romantic food dates less fattening.

How to Resist Pressure to Overeat

Perhaps you and your sweetheart have a history of overeating together? Maybe this is a rut you have found yourself in because your partner likes to eat big restaurant meals, and misery loves company. But that was then. Now, you're trying to shed some extra pounds (or maintain lost weight) and live a healthy lifestyle.

Jean Kristeller, PhD, a researcher on mindful eating at Indiana State University, says one good way to resist pressure to overeat is to stay aware of your own feelings of hunger and fullness -- and to share them with your partner.

Moaning about being on a diet or saying, "I really want that but I shouldn’t," are just invitations to be persuaded to eat more, says Kristeller. Instead, she suggests saying things like, "Oh, that was really good, but I’m not hungry anymore," or "I’m too full to finish it, but let’s take it home."

If you're very comfortable with your date, Lisa Young, PhD, RD, author of The Portion Teller Plan and a nutrition professor at New York University, suggests saying, "I love being able to wear my (insert a favorite item of clothing) that you like so much, and overeating is just not worth the calories!"

If it's a more formal food date, Young believes it's best not to dwell on the issue. She suggests simply saying, "This meal has been so delicious. I’m happy and completely satisfied."

Share More Than Your Heart

One of the easiest ways to make a food date easier on your diet sure is to split your entrée with your sweetheart, especially if you're in a restaurant that serves mammoth portions. You can both enjoy a nice cup of soup or side of salad, and a bite of bread with that addicting dipping oil -- just split the entrée.

This isn’t going to work for every couple -- like when one member of the pair is a big meat eater and the other prefers vegetarian dishes. But it just might be the ticket for many.

Don’t Drink Your Calories

You want to make sure you have plenty of calories to spend on the food during your date, so choose low- or no-calorie drinks. Try unsweetened iced tea, hot tea, coffee, club soda with lemon or lime, diet soft drinks, or mineral water.

If you must, have only one glass of wine -- or a wine spritzer. Just enjoying two glasses (6 ounces each) of wine will add up to 250 calories.

The Dessert Doggy Bag

Restaurant desserts can be oh-so-tempting. But it may help to keep in mind that your after-dinner romantic activities will be much more pleasing if your stomach is comfortable, not full.

By ordering a mutually agreed upon dessert "to go," the two of you will have a special something to share much later in the evening when your hunger resurfaces. Not only that, but you'll still get to try of few bites of that mesmerizing treat that caught your eye when the dessert tray passed by.

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