Mulling Over Menus…. Let’s Do a “Better Choices” Makeover

August 8th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Eating outside of the home has become a more popular pastime for many. The latest research tells us we eat more when eating out. However, who doesn’t love to eat out, have a fab chef whip up my food while a hospitable waiter tops up my wine glass? No on, that’s who! I find in the summer dining out, especially at an open air restaurant is just what the summer season ordered. There’s nothing finer than sipping an icy chilled glass of pinot blanc at an outdoor cafe on a wonderful summer eve, wearing strappy sandals and a cool flowy dress….. ahhhhhh

Let’s do the Surf & Turf - Let’s face it folks, as eating out becomes more and more a part of our routine, we can no longer use the excuse “…oh my, this is an occasional treat…” now can we? If your summer wardrobe has shifted into MuMu wear because of the whining after all of the dining, we need to take stock, now. I’m not being a Debbie downer saying stay home and nosh on cottage cheese on your deck. I AM suggesting you take stock of my “awareness is bliss” strategies from my ebook Skinny on Slim, The Little Black Dress of Diet Books advice and do some number surfing and choice turfing to sub in better choices. Sound good?

I did some number surfing, as an example using popular menu items from The Keg. Here are some of my findings:

Starters
Garlic Cheese Bread – 1193 calories, 79 g fat
Calimari – 466 calories, 17 g fat
Spinach Salad – 428 calories

Main Course
Sirloin Oscar – 899 calories, 66 g fat
Garlic mashed potatoes – 379 calories, 23 g fat

Dessert
Brownie Sundae – 1105 calories, 51 g fat
Chocolate cake – 889 calories, 50 g fat

Dinner Do-Over – Making Better Choices – Easy As 1, 2, 3

So let’s rewind this tape folks. If you indeed go out to eat more regularly AND want to remain in summertime shape, making better choices isn’t all that hard. Listen up:
1) For starters, have a little snack before you go out to take the edge off of your appetite. When you do that you won’t eat like a buzz saw when you sit down.
2) Next, wear something you feel fabulous in and focus on the fun time out. You’re not in contention for winning the pie eating contest at the county fare – so get chatty and enjoy the overall experience.
3) Start sipping bubbly…. mineral water, that is. You want to get hydrated AND have your wits about you as you deal with a waiter full of delectable “up sell” ideas and social saboteurs, so if you start into the alcohol too soon you will throw all caution to the wind before you put the napkin on your lap. Don’t do it to yourself! If you plan to order alcohol limit yourself to 2 glasses max.
4) Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Plan to take some home. You KNOW those serving sizes are enough for 2 meals so focus on having half right at the beginning, then you’ll bring home the rest to savour tomorrow. Double the pleasure!

Starters
Table Bread (1/4 loaf) – 140 calories
Mixed Greens Salad – 132 calories Or salad noted above and ask for the dressing on the side and make it half dressed (ooo-la-la!!)

Main Course
8 oz Steak – 321 calories, 14 g fat
Baked potato 385 calories, 10 g fat (ask for the fix ins on the side and proceed with caution)
Mixed Veg 132 calories

Dessert
Mint tea, finish the mineral water

Just a few more pointers:
5) I usually don’t have any bread as I figure why waste calories on this sort of thing. If it’s super amazing I’ll enjoy a piece with soup or salad, but will have 1 slice.
6) When my main meal comes I’ll cut my entree and potato in half as I make a conscious decision to take half home. As the wine flows I may finish it all unwittingly so doing this is my way of making up my mind first.
7) As dinner time lingers so does my feeling of fullness. I hate that “stuffed like a sausage feeling” especially when I’m all dressed up so decide to stop despite how amazing the waiter makes the desserts sound. I can have it, some other time. I use my “just for today” strategy, that I will forgo dessert today, but can enjoy it another time.

If you find yourself eating out more often because of the season, or because of business travel or you’re just a socialista, do some menu mulling and meandering to help you make better choices. Remember a lot of these are loaded with sodium so beware of that nutritional nugget too. Aim to get your full activity level up when you do eat out more often. Keep in mind, if you walk a 3 mile an hour saunter it’ll be a 3 hour, 9 mile walk to work off the calories of that piece of chocolate cake alone!

Learn to trade off by surfing and turfing and enjoy the entire dining experience, not only the eating part. Sound good?

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