Going out to eat is definitely a pleasure. As a mom of 4, even with as much as I love to cook, I rejoice in the idea of someone else prepping, cooking and cleaning. To some, going out to eat is the opportunity to binge, devour delicious treats. But what is the cost?
Place your order first
We tend to mirror what others are ordering. Even if you go with the intention of ordering healthy, as soon as the others in your group place their orders, that goes out the window. Opt to order first and you might even set the tone for the table to order healthier options as well.
Review the menu
Look for all the red flag options on the menu. Items that are described as creamy, crispy, fried, breaded, or smothered, etc… give you that hint. Go with grilled, steamed, or broiled. Pick something that’s loaded with vegetables. Fried is not your friend. If you have a chance, check out the menu online ahead of time.
Never fear menu editing
Don’t be afraid to ask your server to make changes, no your food won’t be spit in. How something is prepared, and what actually goes into that meal. Don’t assume that because you order fish and vegetables that what you will be receiving is a healthy meal. Always opt to replace unhealthy sides with steamed veggies, or sliced tomatoes. All sauce should come on the side.
Example, last date night: I was surely not going to ruin my ability to fit into that little black dress with loaded mashed potatoes. I ordered the Woodfire Bourbon Salmon – “Our salmon is brushed with an amazing sweet, tangy glaze. Quinoa kale pilaf and seasonal vegetables on the side.” This meal is a whopping 833 calories, 43 g of fat 1800mg of sodium. I was craving Salmon though. I ordered the salmon, requesting to be wood fire grilled with no glaze. I swapped my quinoa for mixed green salad with pecans, no dressing. I was able to get a custom serving of steamed plain broccoli and sliced tomatoes. Needless to say I was happy, and so was our server after his tip and my raving review to his manager!
Box it up
A restaurant serving can usually feed two, feel free to ask your server for a to-go box at the beginning of the meal and box up half of the portion to take home with you.
Soup and salad
Choose a broth-based soup and salad as your main course. WARNING: The word salad, does not equate healthy. Chain restaurant salads can add up to 1500+ calories for ONE dinner salad.
Staying under 2000 calories a day can be easy when you are at home, out to eat? Not so much. When ordering stick to eating your main portion about the size of your fist.
Surviving a buffet
I get it. They are easy, convenient, cheap, and kid friendly. Knock out a huge plate of salad. Then make your decision, choose the healthiest entrées available, or head straight to the dessert table. Don’t over-eat if you know you are going to have a dessert. Why not compromise with a healthy filling salad then the dessert of your choice?
Take your time
You aren’t in a rush, I take that back, you aren’t in a rush if you don’t have a toddler with you. There is a 20 minute delay in the communication of “I’m full” from your stomach to your brain. Slow down, enjoy your company, take paused moments and relax.
Drinks all around
By all means have that glass of wine, but stick to one glass and pair it with a few glasses of water. Cut the sweet drinks. Water will help fill you up thereby cutting calories and how much alcohol you consume.
Just have fun, enjoy yourself and know that this is about YOU, not anyone else. A healthy trend starts with your choices.