31 Days to a Better Body: Day 24 – Tips for Eating Out
I don’t eat out very often so when I do I typically make it a “free meal” (what I’ve referred to as sane meal in the past) and order whatever I want. Sometimes this is a salad and sometimes it’s fish and chips with tarter sauce and ranch. However, when I’m eating out multiple times in a week such as vacation or when I have family in town, I am selective about my choices.
This happens to be one of those weeks. Right now I am at the Perform Better 3 Day Functional Fitness Summit in Long Beach. I’m staying at a hotel with my grandparents and we are going out to eat for every meal. If I eat whatever I want for four days without paying attention, I’ll easily end up gaining 5 or more pounds and, more importantly, feeling like crud. Sunday is my birthday and that’s not my gift of choice so I’ll make some choices based on my priorities.
I just noticed this week that every restaurant I have been to has calorie counts right next to the items making it much easier to choose. Anyone know if this is a new law in California? Probably, we can’t sneeze here without getting a permit.
Tips for Eating Out
(that I use only when I’m eating out multiple times a week)
1. If possible, glance at the calorie counts ahead of time. Even if it’s not 100% accurate I’m sure a 500 calorie grilled salmon dinner is still less than a 1200 calorie trough of pasta with cream sauce.
I recently noticed this week that every restaurant I have been to has calorie counts right next to the items making it much easier to choose. Anyone know if this is a new law in California? Probably, we can’t sneeze here without getting a permit.
2. Order a protein and vegetables. Fish, chicken, steak,…ect. I love this sort of simple food so it’s really not a big deal.
2. Bread – The bread basket is dangerous thing for me. It’s easier for me to make a decision to just not have any bread. However, often times I make that decision then end up having a piece or two. It’s life. If I’m with just Brent sometimes we’ll ask that they don’t bring bread. That doesn’t usually work in a group setting though.
3. Chips and salsa are my favorite junk food of all time. Whenever, I go to a Mexican restaurant I simple decide it’s going to be a free meal or it’s not. Since I don’t go out to eat very often, it’s usually a free meal. It’s a rare meal where I’ll daintly munch on 5-10 chips and call it a night. If’ it’s not going to be a free meal, it’s easier to just say no and order a chicken taco salad drowned in pico de gallo. (Which, btw, is one of my favorite lean eating meals.) Otherwise, if I choose to have chips I”ll have as many as I want and I won’t feel guilty.
4. Order water or unsweetened tea. Occasionally, I’ll have a glass a wine but most of the time I prefer not to drink my calories.
5. If I order a salad I look at the ingredients and decide if there is anything high calorie that I really won’t miss. For example last night at Outback Steakhouse, I ordered a seared Ahi salad and decided I really wouldn’t miss the fried wontons asked if they could leave those off. I didn’t miss them at all. I prefer my salads tossed with dressings so most of the time I ask if they can “go light” on the dressings and for a side if I need more.
You may notice that I don’t have dessert on here. When it comes to sweets if they aren’t homemade and made with unrefined sugars I don’t eat them. I haven’t had a dessert in a restaurant for almost 4 years. I don’t feel like I’m missing out, at all. I don’t get upset or feel deprived when others eat them. I’m guessing it might be similar to the way some vegetarians feel about meat.
Eating out is really about giving and taking. I don’t have any hard and fast “rules” about eating out. I do know that I can’t reasonably expect to eat it all, all the time, and maintain a relatively lean body mass. So I pick and choose from the things I really love. If I really love one thing I’ll not have something else. It usually balances out and I end up enjoying my food and maintaining my weight.
Hugs and High Fives,
Check out our family’s adventures at New School Nomads as we plan to take a year long road trip through the United States!