With the Holidays coming up, many of us will be going to family dinners, eating out, and having lots of leftovers. The holidays seem to resolve around food and most of these meals end up at a restaurant. Often, people think eating out isn’t conducive to dieting, and it isn’t great. However, there are some small changes you can make so you can still watch your weight.
6 Ways to Indulge without Breaking the Calorie Bank at Your Favorite Restaurant
- Google the nutrition menu beforehand. If you know where you are headed, look up the menu online that includes nutritional facts. Pick something out and don’t even open that menu when you get there. Often times we pick foods that sound healthy, but have just as many calories or fat grams as that juicy cheeseburger.
- Stick to the Rule of 2’s. The rule of 2’s is very simple to follow. Any item that has calories counts as one item. So an appetizer is one, alcohol or soda counts as one, that bread basket or chips and salsa are one, your entrée is one, and dessert is one. Allow yourself a total of two items for your meal; wine and entrée, bread basket and entrée, appetizer and entrée, entrée and dessert… You get the drift. Even if you are sharing something, it counts as one, no cheating here!
- Share an entrée. It took me several years of pleading with my husband to get him to agree to this. I was only successful after I explained to him that he could order more if he still felt hungry. And he never ends up needing more! Why split? Restaurant portions are way over one portion. In fact, they aren’t even close to one portion if you are eating Italian. I always opt to tell the waiter we are splitting. They usually split the plate in the kitchen and they will give us both a side (pick the side salad ;)). No one to share with? Then once your server brings the food, ask for a to-go box, split that food down the middle, and package it up. Most people will eat whatever is in front of them and can’t be trusted to ask for a box at the end of the meal!
- Drink a full glass of water before eating. A full glass of water helps fill your belly so you don’t over eat. Also, continue to drink water throughout the meal, aiming for 3 glasses. Restaurant food is filled with salt so balancing that is always good. We also translate thirst as hunger, quench your thirst first to decrease that appetite.
- Let someone else order dessert. Sometimes I just want a sweet bite after a savory meal, but I have used up my 2 items. Take one bite of someone else’s dessert. One bite is not going to break the bank and you can get that sweet fix.
- Choose the fruit option. Fresh fruit with whipped cream for dessert is starting to pop-up on menus. It sounds crazy but it really does kick that sweet tooth without costing hundreds of calories. Don’t cheat, this counts as one of your two items!