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Celebrate Without the Pounds

Are you still celebrating the holidays as far as your habits?  Parties, get-togethers, lunch with friends,  office parties, happy hour, birthday dinners, business lunches–it always seems like there’s some occasion that needs celebrating. But if you’re watching your weight, these events can be anything but happy: Instead of enjoying yourself, you’re stressing over what to order, counting calories and wondering how you’ll refuse dessert.

Relax! You can eat out without blowing your healthy food choices. The secret is to know how and what to order. And with more and more places offering low-fat options or smaller portions, it’s easier than ever. Use the tricks below, and your next happy hour will be just that–happy.

Choose the place. Pick a restaurant that you’re familiar with, one that serves nutritious, tasty food. If someone has already made reservations, go online ahead of time to check out the menu. That way, you can avoid the pressure of finding a diet-friendly dish on the fly.  If you come to the restaurant knowing what you’ll order beforehand, you can skip the temptations of checking out the menu.

Eat ahead of time. Have a small snack, like a piece of fruit and part-skim string cheese, before you leave. It’s hard to order healthfully when your stomach is growling.

Master the menu. Certain words can tip you off to the nutritional value of a meal. For instance, baked or broiled is healthy; fried, creamy or crispy isn’t. And don’t be afraid to ask for something that’s not on the menu.  You’re paying for it so have it your way.  If you want vegetables steamed instead of swimming in butter, ask for them.  If you want something on the side, ask for it.  When you’re a patron at a restaurant, you’re the boss of your meal.

Bypass the bread basket. Try to steer clear of the bread basket if possible. To make it a little easier, ask the waiter to bring it out with the main course so you’re not tempted to nibble while you wait.  You an also put it on the opposite side of the table from where you are.  If possible, skip it all together.

Box it To Go. Request a to go box at the time you order.  After your meal is served, place all but the appropriate portion you’ll be eating in the box.  You’ll save calories and money by enjoying the rest of your meal on another day.

Start with a salad. You’ll eat less of your main course if you have a salad first. Opt for a bowl of plain greens, and remember to use a low-fat dressing on the side.  The healthy salad stays healthy without drowning in salad dressing, cheese, and croutons.

When dining out, remember that what is important is the friends and family you are with and truly not the food.  Focus on your dining companions and having fun.  That’s what it is truly all about.

Believe In Yourself,
Cathy, CLC
Certified Life Coach, Weight Loss Surgery Coach
Certified Back On Track Facilitator

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