Diet or Dinner? Here’s What You Should Order In A Restaurant While Staying On Your Health Plan
Have your cake and eat it too - metaphorically.
It’s all too easy to abandon your diet, or whatever health plan you are following, when you get an invitation (read: opportunity) to head out to your favorite restaurant. Either that, or you become an anti-social homebody. What if we said that you can go out, eat well and NOT ditch the lifestyle you are trying to adopt? YES, you can have it all!
Do NOT skip meals before dinner!
Well, I didn’t have lunch so I can eat what I like for dinner. Wrong! Skipping meals beforehand will only ensure that you are famished by the time you reach the restaurant, which equates to you finishing off the bread basket before the waiter even gets to you with the menu. Have a well-balanced lunch. In fact, it may be even better for you to eat an additional light snack before leaving for dinner- a piece of fruit, or some yogurt. This will make sure that you do not order for your roaring appetite.
An appetizer to curb your enthusiasm
Sometimes an appetizer really does the trick when it comes to curbing your cravings. Skip the soup (often loaded with butter and cream) and opt for grilled calamari, hummus, a mezze platter (for sharing), grilled prawns, salad with dressing on the side, antipasti…or skip the entrée and treat yourself to two appetizers.
Having a healthy appetizer will make sure you do not overeat when you get to your main course, no matter what it is.
Order before your friends
Sounds irrelevant but it’s very easy to be influenced by what the people around you order. Your mind may be set on grilled chicken with brown pasta in arrabiata sauce but once everyone around you starts ordering the special croissant sandwich or whipped ricotta pizza (guess which restaurants we’re referring to), it’s easy to be swayed. Know what you want and order it right away, before you change your mind.
Rather than asking yourself what you should order, ask how something has been prepared. Avoid items that have been fried and instead opt for dishes that have been grilled, baked or poached. Many restaurants are extremely accommodating to your preferences, so if you are not willing to give up on your favorite Red Snapper with Lemon Caper Sauce, ask them to grill the fish rather than pan-frying it.
Here are some easy swaps you can make:
White rice/pasta= brown rice/pasta
Creamy sauce= tomato sauce
Fries as a side= garden salad/ baked potato
Watch your portions
Many restaurants have servings that are much too large for your current calorie-count program. The key here is to tell yourself you do not have to finish your entire portion. There are a few ways around this; you can ask a friend to share, order 2 appetizers instead of a full entrée or have your unfinished portion wrapped up for next day’s lunch- leftovers are the best part of dinner anyway.
When all this is said and done, it ultimately boils down to your will power and where there is a will, there is absolute a way.