Terri’s View: Isn’t it great when we get the treat of dining out? Maybe it’s a special occasion or maybe I just didn’t feel like cooking dinner. It could be something quick with the kids at a fast food place or it could be date night with the spouse. Whatever the reason, it is inevitable that you will have to deal with eating out.
One of the main failures when we eat out is not being prepared. I already know from having my kids what my healthy (or as healthy as you can get) choices will be that if I am faced with a fast food place. Grilled chicken sandwiches can be ordered without dressing and I take off the top part of the bun. No fries, of course! One of my favorite fast food options is one of the chains that serves chili and I get a plain baked potato. Pour the chili over it and it is very yummy and a reasonable amount of fat and calories.
If we are going someplace a little nicer, I will usually look up the menu online before I go. That way, I already have an idea of what I will be eating and if I need to modify it. If you find yourself eating “out” at a house party, this can be one of the most difficult times. The food is just out there for the taking; sitting there for you to go back as many times as you would like. These are the times that your discipline really must be strong. I will usually start with a big salad and scan all the food. I will decide on what I want to eat in my head before I put it on my plate so not to overdue it. If I do go for seconds, I will try to stick to the proteins then chew a piece of gum so as not to keep going back. Another trick before I go out to dinner or house party is not to go famished. I will usually have a yogurt or an apple beforehand so that I don’t start eating chips and bread. I will also down as much water as I can hold to fill me up.
Dining out should be an enjoyable experience not one that causes stress over or burdens us with the next day guilt after overeating. If you do overdue it, just drink extra water, hit the gym and most of all don’t beat yourself up – instead get right back on track.
Ed’s View: Dining out at buffets used to be one of our main enjoyments. All you can eat ribs, chicken, lo mein, desserts, oh, I could go on. But when you want to roll out of the restaurant instead of walking, you start wondering if it was worth it. We still enjoy dining out (although lately it has been a rarity) and have just modified our restaurant behavior.
If Terri and I are in the zone and not looking to overindulge, we will usually tell the waitress to keep the bread basket. We will also fill up on a broth type soup and salad with dressing on the side. We will usually forgo the carbs as a side dish and ask for double vegetable. Most restaurants will oblige for a small up-charge. If it’s a breakfast menu, we will forgo the hash browns on the side of our eggs and get wheat toast with a little butter.
We still eat good food and real food, just in moderation. When dining out, you need to be conscience of what you are ordering and you can always ask for a take out container at the beginning of the meal and put some away immediately. If it is not on your plate, you will be less tempted to eat it. You still need to deal with restaurants and parties. You just need to be mentally prepared ahead of time.