Going out to dinner is usually a nice change from cooking at home and I enjoy a good meal about once a week where I’m not concerned with exactly what it’s been cooked in or how many calories it’s setting me back. However, when it’s not that special occasion and you are out to eat for an event or celebration, you still want to make good decisions. I get asked this often from clients and others who want to stay on track. Not to worry, there are several ways to make sure your eating out leaves you eating healthy!
· Let’s begin with doing a little research: Look up the restaurant and know exactly what you’re dealing with before you go.
· First, the Beverages: As a beverage choice, ask for water with a Lemon or unsweetened tea, and some places even have light lemonades. I always ask for a straw and drink a lot of liquids at first.
· Bread & Chips Basket: Just don’t do it! Even if it’s whole-wheat bread. Remember whole-wheat can still spike your insulin (not a good thing) and although it sounds healthier, it’ll set you back from your goals, Trust Me!
· Start with a Salad: Order a salad while everyone else is buttering up. This gets you eating and helps to control hunger. Make sure to order your salad dressing on the side. Get vinegar & oil on the side and use more of the vinegar to add flavor.
· Main Dish: The first thing I look for in my Main dish is a clean, low fat Protein. It’s the center of the meal and truly the most important part. Look for baked, steamed or grilled (seafood, fish or poultry are my favorites). Avoid Fried and Sauteed and many times marinated. The simpler it sounds, the better it usually is for you. Order a Main dish without creamy sauces or gravies as well.
· Side Dish: Vegetables are always the way to go, that’s why you ordered the Salad earlier. But in most cases, cooked vegetables at restaurants have oils or butters on them. You should order your veggies “Dry”, nothing on them. I’m not sure I always trust how this turns out, so I usually do some investigating when it arrives in front of me. I won’t eat them if they seem to greasy, and will stick with my Main Dish and the salad.
· Large Portions: I know we’ve been taught to clean our plates, but if you’re not sure about an item or have had enough…leave the rest!
· Dessert: PASS! If fruit is an option, it’s your best one, especially berries.
· Worst case scenario: It happens to be a Pizza Place with Beer, Breadsticks, Wings, Cheese and no salads. Bring your own snacks, eat a snack before arriving or have it ready in the car for afterwards. You are responsible for planning ahead and you are the one waking up the next morning frustrated or proud!
Thanks for being a part of my journey and letting me be apart of yours!