Friday, February 10, 2012

Eating Out Hints. A to Z Weight-Loss Tips for Long-Term Success - Tip E

Eating Out: Easy Tips to Keep You on Track

It's your friend's birthday and you decide to take her out for a fun dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. You both start off with a glass of wine and share an appetizer of Thai Lettuce Wraps.You enjoy the Grilled Portabella Mushroom on a Bun with fries. You treat her to a House Salad with Ranch and the Thai Chicken Pasta. You are both full after eating all of that, but you both decide that you can't go to the Cheesecake Factory without getting some cheesecake, so you decide to split a slice of Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. 

So, what's the damage?
You just consumed about 2800 calories, and your friend a whopping 3000 calories!

This is much more than most average adults 
need in an entire day!

Eating out can be tough on your weight loss plan, because it is more difficult to control portion sizes and food preparation methods. Plus, people generally enjoy a drink and/or dessert when eating out at a restaurant. However, eating a meal outside the home or office is an important, and many times, fun event for many people. It happens for many reasons: celebrations, business lunches, parties, no plans to cook at home, didn't have time to grocery shop, etc. Eating out is inevitable for many folks, so try these helpful survival tips next time you dine away from home.

Eating out survival tips:
  • Walk (or bike) for that meal, but don’t forget comfortable shoes!
    • Dine somewhere that is a 10 to 15 minute walk from your home or office. You'll enjoy your meal plus get 30 minutes of physical activity, AND no parking to worry about. The walk home will also help digestion and burn a few calories! 
  • Cut the calories you consume by controlling the portion size of your meal. (Your wallet will thank you too!) 
    • Instead of a large entrée, order an appetizer and a leafy green salad. 
    • Order a kids meal or the junior sized portions. Many offer low-fat milk and fruits and veggies instead of fries.  
    • Enjoy your meal TWICE!: Ask for a doggie bag as soon as your meal arrives. Place half in the box to take home and only eat the half that is remaining. This saves calories, time, and money. Lunch for tomorrow is ready to go!  
    • Split one dessert with the whole table. Sometimes just a bite or two is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
    • Share the main entrée with a pal. It saves both of you calories and money! 
  • On the side! Control calories consumed by asking for sauces, condiments, gravies, and dressings "on the side".  This puts you in control of how much is put on your meal. 
    • Dressing on the side of your salad
    • Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mayo on the side of your burger
    • Gravy on the side of your mashed potatoes or steak
    • Cream and cheese sauces on the side of your pasta
  • Use the Nutrition Info available
    • Many restaurants have calorie information on the menus, menu boards, or available upon request.
    • Research calorie information online before you arrive at the restaurant. Many chain restaurants have this information available online.
    • Order items off the "lite", "enlightened", "heart healthy", or other similarly named portion of the menu.

Yes, I have tried all of these myself, and they can help reduce calories consumed. I feel much better leaving the restaurant comfortably content rather than bloated and uncomfortably full. Plus, we save some money too!

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