One of the things that people often struggle with is eating out. First let me say that - in my opinion - one of the reasons we are so fat as a nation is that we eat out WAYYYYYYY too much. I know I did before I started losing weight. I often went out to TGI Friday's for lunch and ordered the soup and salad. Healthy, right? Not so much. I would usually have 2 bowls at 300 calories per bowl. Then the salad, which was nominal calories, but I added Balsalmic dressing - 300 calories!! Now, add in eating at least 3 breadsticks at 100 calories a piece and at least 2 Mountain Dews at 75 calories. So I was eating for lunch at least 1300 calories and then when I got home at night having a full meal.
Not only is eating out playing hell on our collective waistlines but many of us are spending too much money on eating out, aren't we??
That being said, I can totally relate to wanting to eat out once and a while. So what are some pointers to make smart choices? First off, if you are eating at any of the national chains, you can get right on the internet and get the calories counts for everything they serve. If you have the internet on your phone, you can do it right from the restaurant . However, I personally like to see the counts and know what I am going to eat BEFORE I get there. Having a plan prevents making rash and unwise choices.
Fortunately, many of the chain restaurants are trying to incorporate healthy meals into their menus. Ruby Tuesdays has a fit and fresh selection, Applebees has an under 550 calorie menu and my personal favorite place - Panera Bread - offers many healthy choices and their calories counts are listed right where you order!! It is definitely possible to eat healthy when you are eating out!!!
Here are some additional tips:
- When you get the salad, ask for the light dressing and get it on the side. Most restaurants smother their salad in dressing and you don't need all of that.
- Speaking of salads, don't assume that they are the healthiest things on the menu. Check the calorie counts - many salads have more calories then other selections!
- Like I'm sure many of you, I have a weakness for bread. But at home you wouldn't sit down and eat 3 rolls with dinner, why would you do it when you go out??!!
- All you can eat buffets are evil. Try to stick to places where you get served your meal only. If you do hit a buffet and there is a salad selection, fill your plate with a large salad first.
- Stay away from fried food. If you go to a Asian restaurant anything listed as "tempura" means battered and deep fried. Tons of calories.
- Cream sauces for pasta have a ton of calories! Stick with marinera or spaghetti sauce or don't get the pasta entrees.
- Say no to appetizers. They are almost universally high in calories. Applebees spinach and artichoke dip has 1500 calories by itself!!! And while you're at it, say no to desserts. Sorry!
Just use common sense and you can eat out, have a good time and not destroy what you have been working for!