I’ll be the first to tell you that I LOVE to eat out at restaurants. Its like a weekend hobby for us around here, but it can be totally detrimental to our nutrition plan. Sometimes I feel like I have to start over every single week just to get back to where I was…then to squash it again with another weekend outing. Can anyone relate?
I am putting my foot down this time and taking a stand for the hard work that has been accomplished throughout the week. There is a way to go out to eat AND maintain your nutrition plan. Say what?! Yes and I’m giving you all my little secrets below.
Before You Arrive
So you are on this nutrition plan, and you are going to your favorite Mexican restaurant- Yikes. Know the menu before you get there. It is easier to process the choices and know what you are ordering before you even sit down at the table. This way you don’t fall into the trap of that inciting menu love language.
The Corner Booth
Did you know that studies have shown that when we eat in loud environments or in front of a TV that we tend to consume more? Yes -that is scary news. Find a corner booth or request a quite spot in the restaurant so that you can focus on your meal and each other.
The Drink Order
Drinks can be so tricky – they sneak in those calories without us even thinking twice about them. Don’t drink your calories, opt for the water instead. The plus is that water is almost always free!
My all-time favorite thing is chips and salsa or some warm fluffy bread, but this counts towards your total meal and it’s more calories than what you would think! Skip these pre-meal freebies and save room for the good stuff!
Be the first at the table to order your meal – this way you are less likely to change your mind last minute. Also, make sure you are evaluating the prep options and speaking up to ensure yours is prepared to your liking. Go with baked, roasted or grilled meats and skip the sauce and butters. Skip the fries and fried side items and opt in for a fresh salad or extra veggies.
Don’t feel guilty about ordering something that is healthy while everyone else is indulging in other meal options. Remember why you decided to embark on this journey in the first place and remind yourself that it’s worth it.
The Portion Sizes
Restaurant portion sizes are way out of control. Take time to look at your plate and evaluate the amount of each item you eat. My rule of thumb is always to eat protein, veggies and then carbs in that order so that you are filling up on the good stuff first and leaving less room for the other.
Dessert is so hard to resist and we are human. I always try to ensure I have finished my meal and drank a full glass of water before I even consider dessert. BUT if you feel the need to have a little, stick to the 3-bite rule for sweets. Take 3 bites and 3 bites only of that chocolate cake and then put your napkin on top of it. Whew! That is probably the hardest part!
American Food: Stick to grilled meats if possible, no buns, extra veggies and no cheese. Leave the fries behind and go with a fresh side salad if available.
Fast Food: Find a place where you can pick your own ingredients. Chipotle is the popular spot! Choose your own meats and veggies and add a little guac.
Italian – Opt out of the pasta dishes and go for something grilled, add vegges and a salad.
Mexican: Order the fajitas – this plate is stuffed with grilled meat and lots of veggies! Skip the chips and salsa, margarita and the rice and beans. Yea – you will survive. Promise.
Thai – Try the curry. It’s important to check to ensure that the curry isn’t made with sugar and you are good to go! Skip the rice.
Not going out tonight? Try these recipes at home!