‘Tis the season for many things, and one of them is dining out. Whether you’re going home for the holidays, or staying where you are, chances are you’ll be reconnecting with lots of old friends and family. I know I’ll be going out quite a bit, and while there’ll be plenty of fun, there will also be a few downsides! One is the cash, of course, but another is the calories! As if the turkey and stuffing won’t be bad enough, all of those get-togethers will have take a toll on my waistline if I’m not careful! Thankfully, I found an article on MSN that gives some great tips for eating out without over-indulging. You can check out the whole article here, but read on for the highlights!
Read the whole menu. It’s tempting to jump at the first sumptuous dish you see, but chances are there are plenty of delicious options-including healthy ones!
Be the first to order. Chances are, your grilled chicken salad won’t sound quite as delicious after hearing everyone else at the table order burgers or potatoes with extra gravy. Order your meal first, and you may just encourage others to eat healthier as well!
Start with a salad. This is something I try to do in the cafeteria, as a big pile of vegetables will help fill me up with lots of vitamins and other “good stuff” before I dive into a pile of fries. You’ll wind up eating a lot less of the unhealthy choices, and chances are that you’ll feel a lot better after the meal.
Consider a la carte. A bowl of soup and a salad or sandwich can be just as delicious as a basket of chicken tenders, but the portions will be more realistic so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
Split the difference. If an entree sounds like too much food, see if a companion wants to split it with you. I always try to do this with dessert, but splitting a overly large meal is a great idea, too! Another option is to just ask the waiter/waitress to wrap up half your meal without even serving it. That way you’re not tempted to eat too much, and you can have another normally portioned meal later!
Ask for sauces and dressings on the side. A lot of restaurants really lay the dressing (or gravy) on thick! I always find that the salad at Olive Garden is heavily drenched in dressing, and while delicious, it doesn’t help with calorie counting. When the dressing is on the side, you can lightly apply it yourself, or dip your fork in with each bite-that way you get the flavor without all of the calories!
Ask questions. Check if there’s a lot of butter involved in making your food, if the chicken can be grilled instead of fries, etc. If all else fails, ask what you can substitute for high fat side dishes-and if they use a lot of butter in those! Lately I’ve been substituting broccoli for fries, and finding that the veggies are smothered in enough butter to make the calorie difference tiny!