With all the buzz of eating clean and getting lean, you’ve jumped on the bandwagon and have made your own regimen. You prepare meals in advance. You decline office Easter candy. You make it to the gym and leave after your workout. You’re officially amazing and officially healthy. Then Friday hits and you have an overwhelming urge to be wined and dined. Coincidentally, the motivation to hit the gym has dissipated into a memory you had of your former, disciplined self.
It’s official; you are going out to eat.
Get a hold of yourself; it doesn’t have to be this way! Food is not a monster and should not scare you. You are in complete control of your caloric intake and have every right to dictate that to any server at any restaurant. If you’re greeted with eye rolls and lip service, tips are optional.
Being a former resident of a European country, I have never been more grateful of American customer service. Correction, customer service. Anything you want to substitute, leave out, add in or plate separately is done for you with manager approval. Don’t take this for granted because this is not a universally followed custom.
As a resident of the US of A, take advantage of the fact that we are catered to hand and foot when we dine out. This happens to be part of the obesity epidemic but I digress. Because of the leniency we are able to enjoy our new found healthy lifestyles in and out of our homes.
In recent years I have become somewhat of a master of restaurant healthy-making (verb?). With a few tips that I use and have learned from others, here are a few ways you can still enjoy a night out.
Research Your Restaurant – Take about 10 minutes to log-out of Twitter and find the Google the restaurant you’re visiting.
Some will have nutritional menus that might leave you running for a bomb shelter once you read them but they are there to help, I promise. Pick out what you want to order that is within your caloric range.
No nutritional menu? Still take some time to pick out the option you find healthiest. Find out how much sides are so you can sub starches out for veggies. The point in doing this is to walk in knowing what you want so you aren’t swayed by the company you’re with. Even if the company isn’t to blame, you’re less likely to stray if you have your mind pre-made up.
Substitution is Legal – That yammering about being proud to be an American does play into your restaurant experience. If your dish comes with some ooey gooey starch that you’d love to suffocate on but have the discipline not to, today, ask for more veggies. Sometimes there is $1 charge for the change but think of it as an upgrade and it will be worth the Washington.
Team Vegetarian – Certainly not always, but sometimes the vegetarian meals will be a better selection than anything with meat in it. To test this, check the “under 500 calories” section and if a vegetarian option is not on there or better yet, a plain dinner salad, stay FAR AWAY.
Be a Savage – When all else fails, go primal. Stick to getting in your veggies, hydration (water…it’s free!) and protein. Play a game with yourself (not that kind of game) and imagine being stranded in the wilderness. Would mac-n-cheese be readily available? Unless you’re invading an OC glamp-site, it’s doubtful.
Death by Sweets – Surely dessert was never an option to cavemen and the only sweet time they got was behind a rock with their equally savage wife. If you absolutely must indulge try these options instead to prevent a diabetic coma.
- Hold the cake and order a glass of wine.
- Order a very plain dessert and split it with your company
- Order the tiniest dessert portion possible (i.e. PF Changs & Olive Garden make dessert single-shots)
Use these tips the next time your honey wants to treat you or you meet up with the girls. You won’t ruin your progress and you’ll still have social time to keep you sane from all the discipline Monday – Friday.
More great ideas!
- Prevention is King | 5 Tips for Fall Wellness
- Stress Busters | 5 Simple Steps to a Healthier You
- Go Red | Draw The Line On Heart Disease
- Obesity | Family Solutions to Combat the Problem
- Mr. Sun Does Your Dirty Work!
- Ideas and Inspiration for the Kitchen
- Mother’s Day | Preserve Your Family Recipes
- Journal Your Way to Weight Loss