Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Successfully Eat Out on a "Diet"

How to Successfully Eat Out on a "Diet"
Eating out can be a huge source of stress for the person trying to watch their weight go down and not up!  Many restaurants serve food on serving platters rather than plates, and the enormous portions seem right because they are in proper scale to the platter.  Additionally, they want their food to taste good, so they don't skimp on sauces and fatty additives that can make your waistline expand!  With that in mind, I have a few ideas for navigating successfully your next restaurant experience. 
  • Never go out while hungry. You’ll find yourself nibbling on everything that comes your way.
  • Always go for the baked or broiled alternatives.  They can be very tasty and are far less calories and fat than foods prepared with frying.  Always ask how an entrée is prepared to ensure that your selection is not swimming in butter or other fattening sauce.
  • For pasta selections, choose a marinara sauce instead of a white cream sauce.
  • Order a healthy appetizer, salad, or small-sized entrée for your meal.
  • Select white chicken or turkey meat rather than dark meat, removed the skin.
  • Avoid the "all you can eat" and buffet-style restaurants.
  • Split a meal with a friend.
  • Get a doggie bag before the meal and put in a portion of the food when it is first served.
  • Avoid foods that have been prepared in heavy cream.
  • Eat slowly! Put your fork down between bites. It takes the stomach about 20 minutes to realize that it is full.
  • Order your salad or potato with the dressing, butter, sour cream, gravy and other extras on the side.
  • Trim all visible fat from meat.
  • Select fresh fruit, sorbet or frozen yogurt for dessert.
  • Watch the alcohol… it is loaded with calories and can lower your defenses against food, causing you to eat more.
  • Beware of the breadbasket. It comes early and can be refilled several times. Ask that it be brought with the meal and limit yourself to one serving.
  • Water is your best beverage choice. Order diet pop, tea, and coffee with artificial sweetener. Go light on the sugar and cream.
The key is to plan what to order in advance and stick to it. Decide on your priorities before going and avoid looking at the entire menu. Many restaurants offer on-line menus that you can check in advance, so you are ready with a healthier choice.  Speaking of choices, you have them.  So if you really want the burrito, have it, but avoid the chips, rice and beans.  Or if you really want that 600 calorie slice of cheesecake, have a light salad to balance out the meal.  Planning ahead can really help keep you on track! 

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