A couple of nights ago, I ate dinner with some friends, and I wanted to share a few tips with you. This was a restaurant I used to eat in before I was healthy, and I always ordered all of the wrong things. This time, I made better choices and it felt really good. We were all healthy eaters, which made it fun. It can be hard at first, especially if you are eating with people who don’t eat like you, but it gets easier the more you do it.
1. Research, research, research! If you know ahead of time where you will be eating, go online and try to find the nutritional facts. Many restaurants have them listed on their website. If not, most restaurants at least have their menu available. You can find a few options for the healthiest sounding foods. If you do eat somewhere without nutritional facts, you may still be able to find them on Myfitnesspal.com or Livestrong.com. If you still cannot find them, do your best to find generic descriptions, such as “grilled chicken breast,” or “grilled salmon,” on those same websites or the WW e-tools.
2. When your server arrives at your table, ask them not to bring the bread. If you are with people who are eating bread, there may be nothing you can do. You can either choose to eat a small piece (and track it), or take the opportunity to test your willpower!
3. Add a salad to your meal. This way, you can fill up on fresh veggies, and you won’t want to eat as much when your meal comes (more on that later).
4. When you order your salad, ask for it without croutons, cheese and dressing. No dressing? Am I crazy? Well, yes I am, but that is another story. If possible, bring your own dressing. I like Walden Farms dressing packets. I have also been know to bring a container of homemade ranch dressing into a restaurant. This way, you know exactly what is in it and how much fat/calories/points you are eating. Don’t be ashamed! If this is not an option, ask for the most low fat dressing they have or better yet, some vinegar and olive oil. Always ask for the dressing on the side!
5. Only order meat that is grilled, baked or steamed. If it says it is sautéed, it will be cooked in butter. If you are ordering chicken, make sure it is skinless.
6. Ask your server if there will be any oil or butter on anything you have ordered. I ordered something with mixed vegetables, and it turned out they came with butter on them. I asked for no butter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how your food is prepared, and request modifications if necessary.
7. Restaurant meals are often large, and contain enough to feed at least two people. If splitting it with a friend isn’t an option, take some home with you. I usually split everything in half before I start eating. You can even ask for a container at the beginning of the meal, so you aren’t tempted to finish it.
8. Enjoy yourself! Eating out does not have to be a chore. It is a time to enjoy yourself with family and friends. If you do want to have a treat, go ahead! Just make sure you eat a small portion and adjust everything else you are eating to allow for the extra fat/calories/points. You will probably regret going overboard in more ways than one, so just do your best!
These are the only tips I have for now! If you have some I haven’t mentioned here, please let me know! Have a great week!