Going out to dinner tonight or ordering in? You’ve got plenty of company. Almost 75 percent of us eat at a restaurant or order in at least once a week.
And, hey, why not? As busy women letting someone else cook is relaxing—the perfect treat after a busy day.
Trouble is, portion sizes have ballooned in recent years—and most of us tend to polish off every bite. So even if you’re eating a low-calorie restaurant meal, you may be eating way too much of it.
Here are some tips you can use when dining out or in!
- Ditch the starve-yourself-all-day routine. You’ve booked a big dinner, so you skip lunch. Sound familiar? Don’t. By the time you arrive at the restaurant you’re famished, and hello, here’s the bread basket! Two or three pieces later (with butter, of course), you’ve eaten a couple hundred calories—and you haven’t even spoken to the waiter. Instead, dig into a light lunch that has protein, fibre (veggies) and some healthy fats, such as a salad with salmon and veggies. Then in the late afternoon, have a small snack—a container of plain Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts and an apple. Keeping your hunger under control means you won’t dive into the bread basket the moment you’re shown to your table. Better yet, say no to the bread basket all together!
- Go online and review the menu before hand and pick what you are going to order (with any substitutions). This way you know you have made a healthy choice without being swayed by others or by hunger.
- Get your workout in that day!! The more calories you output, the more you have to input. It will also be beneficial to do that workout close to the special meal. This way your muscles are primed and the carbs will be shuttled into your muscle tissue rather than into fat cells for storage!!
- Drink water through out the day and before ordering drinks and food.
- Go easy on the wine. If you want a glass of pinot noir, by all means, have it. Just don’t go overboard. One study found that women who indulged in more than two drinks a day consumed nearly 30 percent more calories (because that second glass of Shiraz tastes better with a slice of chocolate cake, right?).
- Drink a glass of water (can be sparkling water) between alcoholic drinks. Not only will this help keep you hydrated, but also it will help slow down your drinking and calorie intake. (No one has to know it’s not alcohol, put it in a fancy glass with lemon or some berries.) Plus you will feel better the next morning.
- If you are going to have an alcoholic drink, which is a carb…then opt for no carb in your meal (ie no pasta, bread, potato, rice etc.)
- Always order a dish with a lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish, lean steak)
- Pick the best protein. Gotta have a steak? A 10-ounce rib-eye can pack 780 calories or more. Seek out leaner cuts of beef, such as tenderloin, flank steak, or strip when dining out on a diet. The recommended serving size is approximately 5 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand). If the restaurant doesn’t offer one that small, cut your portion in half and take the rest home.
- Always get a vegetable in your meal. Salad or steamed veggies are great. If your meal comes with a choice of potato, rice, pasta as a side ask to have extra veggies instead especially if you want to have a drink of wine or beer.
- Be smart about salad. At the salad bar, fill your plate with veggies, greens, chickpeas, and edamame, and top it with one or two tablespoons of low-fat dressing. Limit the bacon bits, cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings. Ditto for pasta, tuna, or chicken salads swimming in mayo. Stick to a quarter-cup serving or less. If ordering a salad, always ask for dressing on the side, and only use 1/2.
- Practice portion control. Eat three-quarters of what’s on your plate and then stop, this one simple step can easily shave up to 300 calories off your meal. What’s more, you’ll be so satisfied from eating 75 percent of your dinner that you’ll barely miss those extra few bites.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. Restaurants will honor all kinds of special requests—all you have to do is speak up. Order your food grilled, baked, broiled, poached, or steamed instead of fried. Ask for dishes to be cooked with a little olive oil instead of butter. Request extra veggies—and less pasta—in your pasta primavera.
- Get more for less. So many people get stuck on the notion that they have to eat an entree. Says who? Order two appetizers instead and you’ll sample twice the food but eat less overall. Or have one appetizer and share a main course with a friend.
- Make healthy swaps. Choose whole grains such as brown rice or whole-grain bread over refined white bread and rice. Pass up the French fries and the cheese-stuffed potato and order two vegetables, steamed, or a salad and vegetables. Instead of creamy pasta dishes, opt for those with tomato sauces, which are generally lower in fat and calories.
- Eat dessert. I’m not kidding. Try to deny yourself the chocolate souffle and you just might chow down on something worse (like an entire carton of ice cream) when you get home. The smart dining out on a diet strategy: Order one dessert for the table. A few bites should satisfy your sweet tooth. Not in the mood to share? Ask for a low-calorie dessert of berries or a small fruit sorbet.
The following day if you are feeling bloated, realize that is it just water retention from the higher salt content of the food. You did not gain 10 lbs of fat from one meal. The best thing to do for yourself is MOVE! Get a workout in. This will flush the water from the muscles, get you back on track and motivated towards your fitness goals, and give you a “happy” feeling from the endorphin release!
Here’s my secret inside scoop water flush system (do this the day after dinner):
#1 Drink 4-6L of water – over hydrate to create flushing
#2 Drink dandelion or horsetail herbal tea – both mild diuretics to flush water
#3 Stay away from complex carbs, salt & sugar – these love water and will create more water retention
#4 Have a super hot epsom salt bath (4 cups) – this will draw out toxins and excess water from your skin.
(please note, as you take in more water, while feeling puffy, you will feel more puffy before your body starts to flush. Just trust the process. Within 12-24hrs you will flush the excess water)
I hope these tips help take away the stress you have navigating social engagements and let you enjoy the process of getting healthier and achieving the body you truly desire.
I would love to hear any tips you may have found along your journey! Leave a comment 🙂