So you're going out to dinner, fun! But it seems more people are worried about busting the seems of their pants than their wallet. A lot of us dine out frequently, with the stats being 48% of our food dollars spent in restaurants.
With as frequently as people are dining out we don't want to let a few misorders or menu confusion blow our health goals. Here's a few of my favorite tools that I implement when I'm out so I don't leave the restaurant Supersized!
1) Never arrive starving! This leads to destroying the bread basket and slathering tons of butter on that warm delicious bread. Hey I'm down with a slice and enjoying it, or a few chips and salsa to start but we all know the difference between a conscious indulgence and scraping the bottom of the basket.
2) Careful with the Cocktails! Celebrating with a fancy mixed drink can add up to 350 not so fancy calories. You're better off with a glass of red wine, which is high in antioxidants and resveratrol- which is a great anti-aging nutrient. Drinks with simple syrups and liquors are loaded with sugars, so you're safer with a light colored liquor with Club Soda and a lime or a light beer.
If you know it's one of "those nights" make an effort to drink a glass of water in between drinks to prevent dehydration and hanging out with the toilet late night. My go to is sparkling water with lemon and lime. No one knows I'm not drinking, I save the unwanted calories for dessert instead and amp up my immune system with the citrus fruits.
3) Watch the Lingo. You're gonna do what with my food? Descriptions like creamy, fried, crispy, smothered, breaded and stuffed are red flags for high calorie and high fat foods. Ask instead to have those items grilled, steamed, roasted, poached or broiled.
A few other words that will really stick with you are; pan fried, buttery, cheese sauce, scalloped, bisque, au gratin... these types of preparations are loaded with butter, oils and cheese that really pump up the saturated fat.
4) These guys are your friends. The "Low-Calorie" or "Lighter" section of the menu often has awesome choices loaded with flavor that comes from nutrient dense foods. High protein fresh fish and seafood, seasonal produce that's steamed, grilled or roasted. Toppings that are comprised of salsas, fruit chutneys, citrus vinaigrettes and fresh herbs are key.
5) Have your fling on the side. Anytime a dish comes with a sauce, marinade, or salad with dressing I always ask for it on the side. Then it doesn't come swimming in a pool of excess fat that your fish will likely drown in. I'm all for sampling delicious sauces but in the quantity that I want it.
Enjoy your meals and celebrations out and remember you are in control of what and how much you eat. If there's a decadent dish that you just can't pass up, put it in the middle for the table to share. Don't deprive yourself but also don't kill yourself.
I'd love to hear from you! Tweet me your restaurant tips at @JillAnenberg