Dining out, going to restaurants, girls nights, date nights, family nights .... staying within plan while dining outside your home doesn’t have to be stressful. Don’t let fretting over leaving the house to eat & getting social stop you from enjoying it. After all, getting out means you don’t have to cook or clean.
Follow these simple tips to help you fret less when dining out.
1. Check out the menu in advance. Most restaurants now have a menu online as well as nutritional information to go with each item, so take advantage of it. Peruse the choices & decide what you are going to have ahead of time. Often times, I won’t even look at the menu once I get there because I’ve already decided.
2. Order first. Sometimes it is best to be the first to order so as to avoid being tempted by the choices of others. I’m all about making my choices my own, however there are times when it’s tempting to just order based on the choices of others. Ordering first eliminates this, especially when you are dining with people who are not necessarily following your lifestyle choices.
3. Ask for dressings and sauces on the side. This alone will cut down on a lot of extra calories. Your healthiest options are clear vinaigrettes or balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Either way having the dressings and sauces on the side will allow you to control how much you use & cut down on calories while still getting the flavour.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for menu tweaks. In my experience, restaurants are actually very accommodating to these requests. I do this often. Don’t be too shy to ask for your food to be prepared a certain way or to change an item on the menu.
5. Decide ahead and choose from either an appetizer, dessert or alcohol but not all three. Passing on the bread basket can also save you some major calories.
6. Choose veggies over fries & don’t be afraid to ask for your veggies to be cooked a certain way.
7. Adjust earlier meals to account for the extra calories consumed when out. Allowing this calorie buffer will help you be a little more lenient without going over. Focus on protein and veggies throughout the day so as to have more wiggle room when you go out.
8. Share with a friend. Most restaurants portions are huge anyway plus this will save you $$ as well.
9. Remember you don’t need to finish it all at once. Get a ‘to-go’ box. Again, restaurant portions are huge so by taking some home you’ll be less likely to feel bloated & you'll have something for lunch or dinner the next day.
10. Choose water over sodas and juices. Water is a much healthier option & drinking water before your meal is a great way to avoid overeating.
Lastly, when it comes to portion sizes your own hand is a great tool for measuring. (Protein - 1 palm size, Carbohydrates - 1 fist size, Healthy fats - 1 thumb size).
Dining out, in general, is usually about more than just the food anyway. Instead of making it all about the food, why not focus on who you are spending time with, what you are celebrating, the conversation & the atmosphere.
Until next time,