I love to eat out, and I eat out a lot. It is definitely my favorite and most expensive hobby, and I am good with that. There are always better choices that can be made in any kind of restaurant no matter the cuisine. So that you can eat out as much as you enjoy and still stick to the I HATE CELERY STICKS Strategy, here is my list of top ten universal dining tips to follow whether it’s tacos, tortellini, or teriyaki:
- When possible, view the menu online ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the menu and options. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN!
- Decide ahead what you will eat, how many calories you will spend, and figure out how to work it into your daily plan.
- Eat a small meal before heading to eat out so you are not famished when you arrive which may encourage poor choices.
- DO NOT BE SHY! Tell waiter or chef exactly what you want and how you would like it prepared. You are, after all, the customer. Be firm, tell the waiter you are allergic to butter for example and if the fish cannot be grilled plain, then you will need another option.
- If you make a choice that you know is not the wisest to support your weight loss goal, then split it with a dining partner, or make a deal with yourself to eat exactly half and then quickly ask the waiter to take it away.
- Take a look at the Children’s Menu. As silly as this may sound, the portions are often smaller and there may be some smart choices. It is easier to order from the Kid’s menu when you actually have a kid at your table, but it is not necessarily mandatory. To date, I have never been refused an order when I politely requested it.
- Simply prepared protein-rich entrees are generally your best bet: grilled, baked, roasted chicken, beef, or fish, rather than a more complexly prepared dish such as chicken parmesan or meatloaf. Think plain protein made with little or no butter or oil. Vegetables too should be requested steamed or baked, with no added fats.
- Always ask for sauce or a low-fat salad dressing on the side so you can control the portion size. If it is not a lower calorie variety, factor 100 calories per tablespoon of sauce or dressing. You can also bring your own salad dressing discreetly in a travel-size spray bottle.
- Do not forget to factor in wine or beer or alcoholic beverages into the meal.
- Instead of ordering dessert, look forward to one bite of someone else’s, and then order coffee or tea or another no or low caloric beverage.
- Enjoy the meal, enjoy the company!!