I saw this show once on TV, and one of the episodes showed a woman with an assistant that was hired to slap her hand whenever she went for munchies in between meals – it’s a bit extreme so I’m offering you a more reasonable alternative. How about having a dietitian, much like a food guardian angel, tap your shoulder and say “eat this, not this”?
Abra Cadabra! Print this post for your next dining out experience, and you got yourself a diet angel!
So for the next time you’re trying to diet, and you’re invited out. Don’t say no. Go out, enjoy it, and follow these tips.
Your order, not theirs
When you’re at that table with your friends ordering all around, and you realize: one is having a BBB burger, another is going for the 4-cheese raviolli, a third is ordering the cordon-bleu and you think, maybe I’ll skip my salmon whole wheat sandwich with a side of greens, and just this once order the deep fried chicken escalope with that melted cheddar cheese on top – remember, just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t mean its good for you. Stick to your original order, and in fact – order first before you can change your mind!
Just because your drink isn’t dripping in oil and cheese (bad image!), does not mean it’s not high in calories. I’ve already talked about the risk of high sugar soft drinks before here. Add to that, high sugar ice tea, full fat and cream milkshakes and of course alcohol (also mentioned here). Opt for fresh juices with no added sugar, unsweetened ice tea, or just regular water!
Forget mom’s rules, talk as you eat!
This isn’t talking WHILE you eat, so I don’t mean show everyone how your food is being chewed, but more of – starting a low key conversation as you enjoy your meal. This will help prolong your dining experience (again the 20-minute rule discussed here), and get you to really enjoy your dinner.
The obvious ones
I’m just adding this one for good measure: Skip the fried stuff, go for grilled or boiled. Don’t be shy to ask your waiter about how the dish is made and what it includes, not everything might be mentioned on the menu. When I was in NY a few months back, I mentioned to the waiter that I was a vegetarian and proceeded to order vegetable noodles, and he explained that the soy sauce used contained completely minced pork in it and if I would like regular soy sauce instead – these are hidden calories that you might not know of, but your body sure will!
Change is good
Don’t shy away from really tailoring your meal – ask for whole wheat bread instead of white, change your order of fries on the side to baked potato or just a green salad. Alter heavy cream salad dressing to lemon mustard or lemon oil, and make sure it comes on the side and not added to your meal – this allows YOU to be in control of how much you want to add, and makes you more conscious of how much you’re consuming. Another option is that if your meal is already grilled and comes with a side of steamed vegetables, ask for more vegetables – most restaurants add a bigger portion of meat/chicken and less of vegetables in order to impress customers. Most of the time, the meat portions are way over the required dietary amount – so stock up on the veggies which are low in fat and high in nutrients, instead of the more calorific and unnecessary meat.
Take home is no shame
As I mentioned above, a lot of our portions nowadays are excessive and unnecessary, and exceed what we need. So if your plate is 3/4 covered with a piece of steak, share the plate or take the rest home. Feed your dog, reheat it tomorrow for lunch – but don’t feel obliged to finish the whole thing just because it’s there. I’m not a big fan of wasting food, but honestly, overeating has such big consequences that “wasting” restaurant food seems to be the lesser evil – maybe in the future consumers can pressure companies into reducing portion sizes.
I’m going to take this a step further and give you a helping hand. I’m going to document my meals for this week as I eat out to give you a better idea of what “healthy” choices are.