The season of holiday parties, dinners with friends and events is upon us, and while it might not seem like much, overindulging in a night out for dinner can assist in throwing your weight loss goals off track. Here are some tips to help you make smarter healthy choices while dining out, so you won’t regret having dessert.
Plan ahead of time — Many restaurants list their menus online. Do your homework and decide what you’re going to order ahead of time. Going in with a plan can help you stay on track, and avoid the temptations of being caught off guard by tasty, but less healthy options.
Eat a light lunch — Not too light! Eating smaller portions throughout the day is a good way to keep your total calories for the day within safe limits. It’s important to make sure you’re still eating enough. Arriving to your dinner date famished will only make you more likely to overeat.
Have an appetizer — For your main meal. Most restaurant entree portions are 2-3 times the portions we really need. Choosing from the appetizer menu can help you keep your portions in check. Not enough food? Order a side salad as well.
Watch the cocktails — Having alcohol with dinner adds extra calories. Depending on how many you have, it can quickly add up to another meals’ worth: about 120 calories for a glass of wine, 150 per beer, 150-200 for a martini, and over 500 for a 12 oz frozen margarita.
Watch for traps — Restaurant meals are notorious for using a lot of fat to add flavour, which can add up in terms of calories. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side and for meats to be grilled, roasted, broiled, poached or baked. Remove poultry skin, and choose leaner cuts of red meat, such as loin or flank. Keep an eye out for delicious, low fat vegetarian options as well.
Get it to go — When you order your meal, ask for half of it to be wrapped up before they bring it to the table. This will help you from going overboard, and you’ll have lunch for the next day.
Avoid buffets — Studies show that when we have more choices, we will eat more.
Use these tips to reframe the holidays. It’s true that the holidays come but once a year, but that’s the thing, they happen every year. It’s common for us to celebrate special occasions with food and drink, and consume lots of it. This year, try to celebrate the other things that make the holidays special – family, friends, decorating, and traditions old and new. Yes, food can be a part of it, but it does not need to be the focal point.