If you are trying to fit back into your pre-pregnancy jeans, restaurants can wreak havoc on your weight-loss efforts with their huge portions and limited healthy options. More restaurants are finally adding healthy choices, though, along with the nutritional information of their meals.
By changing the way you order, you can make your dining experience a healthier one! Below are some easy tips that I’ve put together and always try to follow when I’m eating out.
1. Portion size: Most restaurant portions are for two people, especially when you are eating at a large chain. Prior to ordering, ask your friend, spouse or family member (whoever you are dining with) if they would like to share a meal. If they agree, you can ask your waiter to split the meal, so it comes out on two plates. This way, you can enjoy everything on your plate, without overeating. If no one wants to share an entrée with you, you can ask the waiter to box half of your meal prior to bringing it to you. You won’t even notice that half of your food is gone and you will have leftovers for the next day! Lastly, if you are not able to do either of the tips above, order a full entrée, only eat half and ask for a box, so you can take the rest home for lunch the next day.
2. Sauce: Choose items with a red (tomato sauce), broth-based or wine reduction sauce, rather than one with cream, i.e. fettuccini alfredo. The cream has loads of fat, calories, and cholesterol, which can put a damper on any weight loss efforts, not to mention your arteries!
3. Meat: Order meat dishes that are grilled, broiled or baked, rather than fried. If you are ordering chicken, order it without the skin. Fried items, as well as chicken with the skin, only add additional calories, fat and cholesterol that you don’t need.
4. Order of food: If you are really hungry, order a small salad or a cup of broth-based soup prior to your meal, instead of one of those tempting, but greasy appetizers. Once you have finished your salad or soup, you won’t be starving by the time your meal comes, which will prevent you from overeating (especially if you are unable to share with someone).
5. Beverage: Go easy on the drinks, as they can quickly add calories without you even realizing it. Choose water and order a glass of wine or one cocktail with dinner. If you order a couple of cocktails before dinner, you will already have consumed a third of the calories in a typical entrée!
6. Dessert: Who doesn’t love dessert? Fall and winter are very tempting times of the year with all of the seasonal goodies, such as pumpkin pie and gingerbread. Summer brings in pies and ice cream. Ask yourself if you truly need dessert; is it something you won’t have for a very long time? If the answer is yes, then ask to share a dessert with the people you are dining with, or plan the rest of your meal to accommodate the additional calories. Usually one dessert can be enough for four people!