When on a diet I dread eating out. It just turns out to be blind. What might look in that photo on la-carte, generally has no nutritional information attached with. So basically you skip realizing the potential of cheese, butter, oil, sugar and of course the over sized portions! If you do order veggies, they come dripping with butter and cream. The salad dressing has more calories than a cheese burger. And thanks to all the fat that is packed with whatever little options available, you generally cannot escape but eating heavy and feeling bloated there after.
How then one can stay lean even when enjoying a meal at bistro? Here is how:
1. This one tip I have gathered from celebrities and they swear by it. Before you leave home, eat something substantial. A bowl of soup, a toast with low fat cheese, left over veggies, yogurt, eggs, apple slices or even nuts. A healthy mini meal will control your freaked out appetite at the sight of an appetizer.
2. Always figure out what you are going to eat. Don't be swayed by the menu. Ask whether the appetizers are fried? Or what sauce come with it. Sometimes sides are served with a dish and if you have preferences why not order brown rice instead of white. Always ask for sauce or dressings on the side and you'd wake up to know how little of these fat packed sides you actually need.Avoid a bread basket. It can easily pack on additional 500 calories even without butter or olive oil. Skip those high fat entrees.
3. Limit your alcohol intake. It has no nutritional benefit and leaves you dehydrated. Instead buy a fancy water bottle. Your body would always use alcohol for energy first, so whatever you eat or drink along with that drink will get stored as fat.
4. Drink loads of water. Before, during and after a meal. Make it your religion, no matter where.
5. Don't mind taking time to decide upon entrees and appetizers. Most of the times you could even skip them and go straight to a meal. Some restaurants serve big portions, so don't feel shy if you have to ask for a wrap up of half the meal.
6. When really hungry, don't order something new. You'll tend to order too much food, overeat and then regret later on. When starving always order a salad or sauteed mixed veggies or better still steamed veggies and relish them with a sauce. You may also order for a soup. It is high volume and will fill you up. Avoid cream based soups.
7. Engaging conversations can be a deterrent. Always watch out for what's in your plate. Always fix an allotted amount and have the rest wrapped up. You'll have next day's lunch or dinner ready.
8. Instead of going for a dessert as a sign off, treat yourself to some ginger tea or green tea that aids digestion. If you must have some sweet , go for fruits as a replacement. Ok you can go for the signature chocolate bred pudding with butter scotch sauce. A few bites won't hurt!
My personal restaurant picks:
The food court at Ikea. It offers some great options for lunch.
Chipotle: A heaven for veggie burrito lovers.
Subway: The sandwiches are awesome. Avoid the dressings though.