Many patients/clients of mine have asked for tips of eating in a social setting, particularly when going out to eat. You don’t want to be that person that has to make a million substitutions or that person that just orders a salad. It’s tough restricting yourself for special occasions and it’s annoying to get baked chicken and broccoli or something equally boring. You’re out to eat, live it up a little! We go out to eat about 3-4 times a month. When I’m out I try to get food that sounds interesting, appealing, and is not something I would make at home. (Hence not getting baked chicken and broccoli). I truly believe in the rule everything in moderation, when you are going out and spending money you want to pay for something you are really going to enjoy! As self-proclaimed foodies, my husband and I typically go to nicer restaurants and want to try as many things as possible, but keep portion control in mind.
Alcohol: Since I am usually at a nicer restaurant I like to pair a nice glass of wine with my meal. If you are concerned about calories, this is the first thing you should cut out, as it provides the least amount of nutrition and is not filling.
Bread: Nothing is more delicious to me than warm freshly baked bread. The bread basket can definitely be a downfall of mine so I have to remind myself of the awesome food I ordered for dinner and not to fill up on the bread. I always have at least one piece of bread, sometimes too. I rarely have bread at home (and never buy white bread). Remember: 3-4 slices of French bread each month is not going to make you fat. Plus since this bread is made fresh it most likely is made from all real food products; don’t let the use of a little bit of white flour scare you.
Appetizer: I typically share a large plate or start with a veggie based small plate. A salad is fine here if that’s what you really want, but make sure it is a special salad, not just tomatoes and cucumbers on a bed of greens. I rarely get salad as an appetizer. Also if none of the appetizers appeal to you, check out the sides options.
Entrée: 8 out of 10 times when I’m out to eat I get fish as my entrée… it’s my favorite protein and not something I eat enough at home. I love trying new different types of fish, fresh water, shellfish, salt water, yes! My rule of thumb is usually to only eat half my entrée and take it home. This stops me from eating so much and also provides me with lunch the next day which I will usually need if I didn’t cook that night. Splitting an entrée is also a great option, in fact sometimes we order one “tasting meal” and just split the app, entrée, and dessert, maybe sometimes adding an extra appetizer. Sometimes I will eat an appetizer as my entrée.
Dessert: This is usually a must for me if there is any sort of chocolate or peanut butter dessert. Chocolate torte cake and Crème Brulee are overrated and fruit based desserts are usually too sweet for my palate. I want something intriguing like a deconstructed s’mores or homemade nutella ice cream. If nothing strikes my fancy I go without. Most likely my husband and I will split a dessert of my choice, although he has been known to order another appetizer for dessert which is always interesting (and usually more nutrient dense!)
Everyone has different preferences but I try not to make any rules for going out to eat but here is the recap of my main guidelines:
1. Don’t get something you make at home
2. Portion control, only eat half your entrée, split it, or chose an appetizer as your main
3. Everything in moderation, you can have dessert and bread, just don’t overdo it!
Do you have any tips or tricks?? Any eating out restrictions?? Special diets??