Yay! It's the weekend! Go out, Have fun but Make the Right Choices :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

When you are trying to achieve fitness goals, the weekend is hard! There are so many temptations and our friends and families just want to socialize with us....over a huge plate of nachos drenched in cheese...
It can be hard to navigate a restuarant's menu...we have all heard about salads that are double the calories and fat of a burger...but I've learned that planning is key!
Our bodies and our lives are made up of the tiny choices we make day in and day out....so when you are trying to resist a bad food choice remember that a little is ok....but does that food represent what you want your life to be. Eat food that makes you feel good inside and out!
So take a little time to prepare, go out and enjoy yourself and your body will thank you later!

Healthy Restaurant Dining Step 1: Prepare Your Plan of Attack

It's amazing how much trouble you can get in even before your meal arrives. Take a proactive stance against the unhealthful food assault catapulting in from all sides.
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  • Spoil your appetite. Before you leave for dinner, eat something substantial like a bowl of soup, a piece of leftover chicken, a piece of toast with low-fat cheese and leftover vegetables, yogurt with fruit and nuts, a hard-cooked egg, or apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon. Any healthy minimeal will be lower in calories and fat than an over-the-top restaurant appetizer.
  • Know where you're going. Become familiar with the dining guidelines for different kinds of restaurants, and try to picture what you're going to eat before you even walk in the door. Don't let the menu sway you! 
  • Avoid the bread basket. It's one of the leading causes of overeating at restaurants. Send the basket back -- out of sight is out of mind. If that's unthinkable, take one slice of bread to enjoy with your meal. Bread can tack on an additional 500 calories to your meal's total -- not even including the butter or olive oil.
  • Limit yourself to one alcoholic drink. Alcohol, whether in the form of a cocktail, wine, or beer, can weaken your resolve for exercising thoughtful moderation with your food. Plus, it dehydrates you and offers no nutritional benefit. When you go out, limit yourself to just one drink -- or order a bottle of fancy water instead. Because the body will use the alcohol for energy first (followed by carbohydrates, protein, and fat), when you drink and eat, the excess calories are often stored as fat. To keep the pounds from piling on, skip higher-fat entrées (such as duck and filet mignon) in favor of lower-fat fare (including white fish, pork, poultry, and venison) when having wine with dinner.
  • Drink water. You've heard this before, but we'll say it again: Drink water before, during, and after every meal, whether you're at a restaurant, at home, or anywhere else.

Healthy Restaurant Dining Step 2: Place Your Order With Confidence

  • If you feel intimidated by servers, stop right now. Don't worry that you're holding them up with your questions and requests. Don't feel shy. Running interference between the kitchen and your table is a server's job, and he or she wants to please you. (There's a tip at stake here . . .)
  • Be constantly aware of portion sizes. Trust us: You likely won't need an appetizer and an entrée. Some restaurants have been known to serve up to seven times the normal portion for a meal.
  • Plan to leave food on your plate -- or request that half of your meal be wrapped before it even comes to the table. Why you want to keep the extra food out of sight: In a Pennsylvania State University study, researchers found that all the volunteers who were given extra food on their plates ate it -- without reporting feeling any fuller afterward.
  • Appetizers are generally more realistic portion sizes. Order your favorite as a meal with a side salad, or order two appetizers -- one that is more vegetable-based.
  • Ask, ask, ask. Is it fried? What kind of sauce comes with it? What sides are served with each dish? Can I get brown rice instead of white?
  • Always request sauces and dressings on the side. You'll realize how little sauce and dressing you really need.
  • Don't order something new when you're very hungry. If you do, you'll likely order too much food, overeat, and regret it later. If you're starving, order a standby that you know is good for you.
  • Order plenty of vegetables. Get a large mixed salad, or order vegetables sautéed in a bit of olive oil or steamed with sauce on the side (so you can lightly dip them in the sauce).
  • Sip some broth. Soup is a good high-volume food that will fill you up. Look for vegetable, broth-based, and bean soups. Avoid cream-based soups and chowders.

Healthy Restaurant Dining Step 3: Finish With a Flourish

    'Let me have 20% fat, 40% carbohydrate, 40% protein and a cup of tea,' by Bacall, Aaron
  • Don't let down your guard after the server scurries off to the kitchen with your order. You'll still need to exercise some caution when your perfectly ordered meal arrives.
  • Stay alert. It's easy to get caught up in an engaging conversation and eat everything on your plate without even thinking about it. After you've finished your allotted amount, have the server wrap up your leftovers. The bonus is that you have tomorrow's lunch (or dinner) already prepared.
  • End your meal with refreshing green or herbal tea. Ginger tea can help with digestion, and green tea is good for your overall health. Many restaurants now offer a variety of exotic teas, so treat yourself to some! Some teas are so fruity that they're a perfect replacement for dessert.
  • Order a dessert for the table. Three bites of the chef's signature chocolate bread pudding with butterscotch sauce won't hurt -- just make sure someone else will finish the rest.
Have fun everyone!!! :)