As we enter into another year many people have added “lose weight” to their New Year’s Resolutions. One of the toughest things to tackle is those of us who are watching our weight is when we enter a restaurant. There are so many choices and so many delicious items to choose from. It is difficult for some of us to choose the best menu option.
Here are some tips when dining out what to do and what not to do.
- Schedule a little extra exercise on or close to the days you plan to dine out.
- Set yourself some rules before you go to the restaurant and stick to them. (Remember: if you break the rules, you are only hurting yourself and it isn’t worth it.)
- The famous “bread basket” or “hot dinner rolls.” You can choose to either: just take one and ask the server to remove the rest or simply just say “no thank you” to the bread. You can certainly fill up on other healthier things.
- A good idea is review the menu online before you go to the restaurant. If you have an idea of what you would like to order then it saves not only time but “temptation” for later.
- Don’t be afraid to make special requests for your meal. You are spending your money and a lot of restaurants aren’t cheap. For example: you can ask for salad dressing on the side, or a meat can be grilled or broiled, or simply ask for a salad or soup instead of French fries with your sandwich or burger. Many places now offer a fruit cup or vegetables.
- Some restaurants have extra large portions and some would feed two comfortably with extra to take home. Order the smaller portions or petite portions if available. If you are out with a friend, perhaps split an entrée. You may pay more, but at least it won’t be wasted or you won’t over-eat.
- Appetizers, if you must, try sharing something light. Avoid anything fried or smothered in butter. Some places offer specialty salads which work out well as an appetizer that you can split with a friend.
- Know the menu terms such as: Parmigiana, au gratin, scampi and creamed. These usually consists of high-fat and high calories options.
- Be careful of “all you can eat” buffet or salad bars. Stick with low-calorie or fat-free dressings. Lightly top with croutons, cheese or bacon bits. One trip to a salad bar or lunch buffet is plenty.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a “doggy bag.” If you are at a place where your portion size is larger than you’d prefer. Ask for a “take out” box first and put half your meal in it for the next night’s dinner. When you are full, slide your plate to the side. Don’t overeat; it’s not worth the calories or the indigestion.