Tips for Dining Out

Friday is here, and so is the weekend.  If you’re like me, the groceries are low thanks to your weekly meal planning (and readiness to restock at Saturday’s farmer’s market) so it’s often out to dinner, to happy hour, or grabbing take-out.   It’s ok to allow some indulgences – but don’t go off the deep end on the weekend. Your 5 days of hard work and conscious eating should not be derailed by 3 days of gluttony.  So if you’re headed with your pals or family after work today, here are some tips for dining out:

  •  Choose restaurants carefully- if you have the option.  Look online first for places that have healthy dishes you can order
  • Don’t show up starving – this means you will often eat DOUBLE the amount of calories you would had you not skipped meals
  • Eat mindfully throughout the rest of the day to manage calorie intake – but DO NOT SKIP MEALS
  • Be assertive and make personal requests- most restaurants are happy to accommodate you
  • Avoid buffets, order from the menu instead: BUFFET = CALORIE BOMB!
  • “Doggy bag” half of your entree before you start: This will prevent the temptation of overeating.  You can even ask your server to wrap up half of your meal before even bringing the plate out
  • Start with a broth based soup or salad – it takes 20 minutes from the time you take a bite of foo for your brain to realize you are eating so this helps you avoid eating way too much at one meal.
  • Order an appetizer as your entréetipsfordiningout
  • Try splitting a meal
  • Don’t be influenced by others- if they are loading up on cocktails or appetizers, stick to your plan!
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: Alcohol adds empty calories, stimulates appetite and is metabolized as FAT.
  • Request dressing on the side! Use the “fork dipping” method- dip your fork in the dressing before each bite.  This goes for any sauces as well
  • For late dinners, plan a healthy snack to curb your hunger
  • Choose ONE: Bread, Cocktails, or Dessert- NOT ALL 3!
  • Enjoy social aspects of dining out, not just the food
  • Avoid adding butter to foods
  • Ask for meat and vegetables “dry” without butter or oil
  • For dessert choose fruit, sorbet or a non-fat cappuccino (or skip it)
  • Eat mindfully, enjoy each bite and STOP when you are satisfied – not overstuffed and needing a nap

Last but not least, if none of the above was applied last night then be sure to reset your body first thing in the morning with a workout and healthy breakfast.

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