If you’re like most, the holiday season is jam packed with parties, family and going out. Here are some of my restaurant and dining out tips to help you make healthier choices and still enjoy good food and good times with your family and friends..without the guilt and weight gain.
- Be prepared. Go in with a plan to eat healthy. Whether you have to look at the menu online ahead of time or simply go in with the mindset of making healthy choices, just be prepared.
- Drink a protein shake (if you can) before going out. Going to a restaurant hungry is the same as going to the grocery store hungry. (I’ve opened more bags of almonds than I can count while grocery shopping! lol). Starting your meal with protein and fiber sets your body in motion to burn fat, keeps your more satiated and prevents the overeating!
- Drink water with your meal. Period. Don’t waste your calories on sodas, alcohol and the fancy strawberry lemonade (that’s loaded with sugar and sugar = fat storing).
- Just Say No. It’s perfectly acceptable to turn away the starter items–bread and butter, chips and salsa, etc. Just think of white bread as powdered sugar and the higher starchy foods can easily spike your blood sugar (even if you follow it with a healthy meal).
- This is a favorite! Order first! Be the leader and be the first to order. For one so you’re not tempted to follow suit and order what everybody else is ordering (you know it happens–“oh, that looks good, I want that, too” lol) and secondly, you’re setting the example for the others. More people are watching (and learning from you) than you realize and while most don’t mean harm, it’s usually our closest family and friends who make fun or say something negative about our healthy choices. But you’ll be the one they come to and ask for advice when they themselves are ready.
- Mix and Match. You don’t have to order exactly what’s on the menu. Many, many times I customize my order and dish exactly how I want it….substitute….or whatever you need to do to make it work for you. If 2 sides are included and a you’re avoiding high starches, order 2 sides of veggies (there’s no rule that you have to choose a potato! ) Only want a salad from the buffet but need extra protein? Order a grilled chicken breast or salmon on the side and add it to your salad. Order double protein–I find many salads on the menu don’t have enough protein I want, so simply double up and ask for more.
- Order extra. If you’re having a late restaurant supper and haven’t had time to meal prep or plan ahead for lunch for the next day. Order a to-go meal and have them package it for you. Voila! Lunch is ready!
- When making your salad from the salad bar—if you choose plain iceberg lettuce, I will come to you and seriously harass you in that restaurant! lol Always go with green leafy! Iceberg is nothing–no nutrients, natta, no nothing. Get the spring mix or spinach (or mix the 2) for the nutrients. For your salad choices, choose vegetables instead of the fake meat. There’s a reason why you’ll see cardiologists load their salad plate with color! (And as always, your clear dressings are usually better than the creamy).
Back during the summer, Clark and I enjoyed a weekend in New Orleans. One thing we do love about NOLA are the historic restaurants. This trip we ate at The Court of Two Sisters where its history begins in 1726! How crazy is that!