Menu Offering: Broiled white fish served with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.
RE-DO: Broiled white fish served with asparagus and an extra green veggie, like spinach, in place of the potatoes. Most restaurants are happy to do this when asked and are getting increasingly accustomed to such requests.
Menu Offering: Chips and guacamole at a Mexican restaurant
REDO: In place of the chips, request raw cucumbers, peppers and jicama for eating with the guacamole.
When eating in a Mexican restaurant, remember that shrimp or chicken fajitas are a great appetizer if you forgo the tortilla, rice and refried beans. You will have a delicious start to your meal if you top them with guacamole, fresh salsa, and shredded lettuce.
Some General Guidelines:
Breadbasket: Fewer and fewer diners are availing themselves of the pre-dinner breadbasket. In fact, fewer restaurants even offer one now. If you can get consensus from your companions, ask your server not to even place one on your table. No need to be tempted by some empty calories while you are waiting for your healthy meal. Along the same lines, avoid “bready” appetizers that feature the descriptions, “battered” or “breaded”.
Healthy starters: Ideally, you will fill the breadbasket absence by ordering some healthy appetizers. Some better choices would be: grilled calamari, chicken or beef skewers, Caprese or chopped salad (olive oil and vinegar on the side), beef or tuna tartar, Carpaccio, or shrimp cocktail. Another option is to order a vegetable “side” from the dinner menu, like spinach or green beans, as an appetizer.
Main Course: Stick with a lean protein and one or two green vegetables, and you will feel better at the end of the evening. You can have a few bites of mashed potatoes if you really want it, but if you are having wine and planning on a portion of dessert, keep your overall nutrient goals in mind. Skip the potatoes if you have other big carbohydrate plans. Pick your vice!
We all indulge a bit. I encourage enjoying life and food. However, if your lifestyle involves eating in restaurants accompanied by a couple of alcoholic beverages on a consistent basis, it can be a slippery slope. Traveling, dining with clients, or even becoming an empty-nester can all increase the number of meals you eat in a restaurant. Dining in restaurants cannot be an excuse to veer widely off your usual eating plan, especially if you eat many of your meals in restaurants.
With a little bit of planning and a firm grasp of how your macronutrients should be apportioned to achieve a healthy balance of calories that will maintain your weight, you should be able to enjoy your meals out and not regret your choices the next morning.
Remember to “Keep it lean (protein) and green,” and you are in the safe zone.