Last night my husband and I got a rare opportunity to partake in a date night, alone, just the two of us! We had such a great time just chatting and catching up, sharing life, and enjoying dinner and movie.
I had received a gift certificate to the Crow’s Nest, a wonderful spot right on the beach, overlooking the ocean with great food. As we all know I can be fairly strict with my food choices, so I decided to blog for you how I eat out, and let you in on my tips for staying successfu,l and not going overboard, when enjoying eating out.
I always, always, always advise people to eat a small healthy snack before they go out to eat, so they don’t show up hungry and order with their stomachs verses their knowledge. I failed to take my own advice and after a busy day of working and then having finals to come home to for school, I missed my afternoon snack and showed up starving. I do know myself in knowing that can mean big trouble once my blood sugar drops, like most of us, once we borderline that hyperglycemic mode, or brains are no longer functioning correctly. Making a healthy food choice doesn’t always win over needing to eat right now!
Step 1. I ordered two glasses of water upon being seated and a small plate of some vegetables. I politely asked if the vegetables could come out sooner than later. This allowed me to start filling my stomach with water and snacking on vegetables while browsing the menu. My brain was triggered to know I was eating something, and this brought my blood sugar up and allowed me to make a rational decision instead of an impulsive one.
Step 2. Decide ahead of time if you will be having drinks OR dessert. IF having dessert, don’t have drinks. IF having drinks, don’t have dessert. It’s all about choices. When eating out, food is made differently than consuming at home and baked at home. Everything is stronger when eating out.
Step 3. Make it a goal to consume at least 5-8 glasses of water during your time at a restaurant. More salt is used when eating out, and water glasses aren’t very big. You will want to get a jump start on flushing the additional salt, fat and sugars out of your system.
Step 4. I knew I wanted an appetizer and I knew exactly which one I wanted. I love the calamari at the Crows Nest. I also know its breaded and full of fat. The unhealthy kind of fat! So, I had to make a choice. If I wanted to order the appetizer I was going to have to stick to extra water, no dessert, and my main entree was going to have to combat the appetizer. Because again, it’s all about the choices and the right balance.
The calamari was oh so good!!
Step 5. In knowing my appetizer was primarily on the fat side of things, this led me to browsing the menu for a lighter type of entree. I could have done the salad bar, but I knew my hunger level was still off the charts and I was afraid it wouldn’t satisfy me. This lead me to looking at the fish items, the specialty salads (always see thru dressings), or vegetarian options. A steak would have been heavy and more fat, which I was trying to avoid. My stomach won’t let me do a pasta dish, and my choices on last nights menu were heavy in fat from the sauces. I kept browsing, knowing what I was looking for and then it popped off the menu right at me. Steamed vegetables, with Jasmin rice, tofu, and a ginger sesame sauce.
Step 6. Find what you want, and then change it! Very very rarely, is a menu item as is for me. I knew that’s what I wanted, but here is how I changed it-steamed vegetables, Jasmin rice, chicken not tofu (for medical reasons I can’t have soy), and only half the sauce. I felt very confident with my choice!
Step 7. Avoid bread at all costs!!!!! I made my husband put the bread basket on the opposite corner of the table from me and chose to stick to the bread that was on my calamari verses a roll, or three!
He was fine eating tons of bread, whatever.
Step 8. Stick to drinking lots of water, and enjoy your meal, eating it slowly. Enjoy conversation, scenery, and try not to obsess or focus on the food. Listen to your body cues. Once you take your first sigh, you know that one deep breath and then we usually keep eating? That’s actually your bodies first cue, that your done!
I ended up eating about 3/4 of it before my sigh came.
Step 9. When your entree comes, ask for the bill at that time. This way it’s already tallied and the server knows not to ask you for dessert. Don’t even make it an option. Restaurant portions are enough to fill your stomach and then some! There should literally be no room for dessert.
Take Away: Remember, it’s all about choices. When eating out, its going to be in excess, not moderation, no matter how hard you try. Stick to lots of water, and choose ONE splurge, not the whole thing. This means picking drinks OR dessert, OR appetizer OR entree. NOT all of them from start to finish. This will keep you on track to your goals and not set you back.