Eating out is a treat! Once in a while, I will get a night off. At least in our house, I cook almost every night. That wasn't always the case. Our family used to eat out a lot, and I'm sorry to say, it was mostly fast food. With a busy schedule, it was easy and the kids were happy. With three active children, it seemed my taxi service was always in demand. Ball games, Girl Scouts, music lessons...someone needed to go somewhere. In hind sight, I would have liked it to be different. I was uneducated about the nutritional emptiness in fast food. High fat, high calories, low nutrition...not to mention the costs. Fortunately, my family is better educated and make wiser choices about the foods they eat and where they eat.
All-you-can-eat buffets are a big stumbling block, if calories are being counted. It's really easy to over consume, particularly since those spoons are too large and portion sizes are difficult to determine! We used to choose quantity over quality, but no more. I'm not saying it's wrong not to indulge from time to time. Enjoying foods is a nice pleasure in life. The problem occurs when we get mixed up about what food is. Do you eat to live or live to eat? If you are in the second category...you might have a problem with food. Think about that for a moment. Once aware of the difference, changes can be made to slow down and think about WHAT is being consumed.
So here are some tips for staying on track next time. Maybe just choose two or three tips to try.
- Consider ordering food that is "healthy", "low fat", or those on the "lighter" menu.
- Beware of low-carb choices...they are usually loaded with fat.
- Drink at least one glass of water before the meal arrives.
- Once the meal arrives, ask for a box and place half the meal in the box to take home.
- If ordering a salad, ask for the dressing on the side. Creamer dressings are higher in calories. Use the fork-dip method by dipping the fork into the salad dressing first, then skewer the salad. It's surprising how much dressing is left once the salad is gone!
- Skip the drinks. This includes sweet tea and sodas. Consuming empty calories is a quick way to consume too many calories, especially, if the server continues to top it off. It's best to stick with water.
- Order fish.
- Ask the server to skip the bread basket.
- Skip dessert. Although very tempting, serving sizes are too large and can contain as many calories as the main course.
Choosing to eat a home is ultimately the best choice, because there is control over the ingredients. It's fun to go out though, especially on special occasions. So get dressed up and enjoy the evening with family and/or friends.
Health-bite: don't get caught eating a day's calories in one sitting