Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Lifestyle Changes Day 7 – How to Eat Out

on January 17, 2012

So….how’s it going? Has it been easier or harder than you thought?  Something to always keep in mind when you’re trying to change habits, they didn’t just show on your doorstep one  night like your favorite uninvited in-law and turn into the moocher houseguests that refuse to leave. Habits aren’t created overnight and won’t change overnight (sorry, my magic wand is in the shop), it does take work and we’re doing it with baby steps. Do you know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I love that quote! The first time I heard it, I was like, ‘wha?” I’m not eating elephant! But then I heard the punchline. It’s so true. Sometimes things seem so overwhelming in the overall view, but if you break it down to smaller pieces, it’s much easier to deal with. That’s why we set our short-term goals on our way to our long-term goal, right? Yep. So…here we are again. And I have more suggestions for your new lifestyle! I’m just full of them, huh?

By now you’ve read my post about falling off the wagon, right? I am being totally honest with you guys, I have to be honest with myself too. I’m totally not Jillian Michaels, I”m not perfect all the time, I don’t go around in my exercise bra and bike shorts. I’m sure she has her moments too, but she’s not sharing that with us. How can she look like a pro if we know that she screws up like we normal people do?

If you’re like me, your favorite thing to make for dinner on occasion (some more than others) is reservations! I realize that not everyone enjoys being in the kitchen like I do, and that’s totally fine, I”m not downing you at all. We’re all different. I enjoy cooking, which is a good thing because I’m too cheap to eat out all the time! How do you eat well when you go out to eat? I have a plan for that. Many restaurants these days, particularly if they are chains, have the nutritional information on their websites. If you know ahead of time where you’ll be eating, look it up and see what you can eat that will not completely derail all of your hard work during the day. (Remember, we’re still going for minus 3500 calories during a week to lose one pound) And I’ll share with you a sneaky secret. I waited tables for several years in my younger days, at a popular chain steakhouse. One of the side dish items is ‘steamed vegetables’. sounds healthy enough, right? ha HA! That’s where you’re wrong, the wonderful fresh mixed vegetables are steamed with butter! I know! You think you’re doing something good, and you’re really not. The grilled chicken is basted with butter as well. In choosing grilled chicken and steamed vegetables you believe you’re having a wonderful healthy dinner, while they’re sneaking in added calories and fat and it’s just not nice! When ordering, ask for the chicken grilled dry and the vegetables steamed ‘dry’. Dry does not mean w/o flavor, it means w/o the additional calories they’re slipping by and trust me, you won’t the be the first or last to ask for your food this way.

Another way to cut added calories, and the hardest for me: avoid the bread basket! I don’t care how good it looks or how hungry you are, if you eat only 2 rolls <as if>, that’s going to be in the neighborhood of 400-500 calories, and you haven’t even had your entrée yet! Oh yeah, and the salads. I love a fresh salad of gorgeous greens, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. If you choose the salad, you don’t have to eat it dry, get the dressing on the side. Your salad shouldn’t be swimming in dressing. Rather get a bite of salad on your fork and dip it just a little into the dressing, or dip your fork before getting your next bite. You still get the flavor of dressing, but cut out most of the calories from it. Also, if the salad comes with bacon or cheese, ask to leave it off, the salad will still taste good, I promise.  If you’re having pasta, go for the tomato based sauces versus the creamy sauces. I know, I know, love me some alfredo, but think about this: a popular chain restaurant Alfredo sauce weighs in at 600 calories. JUST THE SAUCE! Then when you add pasta, you can tack on 340 calories for just spaghetti. Other types of pasta have more calories. Now, compare that to Pomodoro sauce, which is a tomato/basil sauce, slides in under the bar at 190 calories. Yes! The tomato-based sauce has 2/3 fewer calories than the alfredo. How amazing is that? So, have your pasta with a tomato based sauce and cut out a lot of calories. Do keep in mind if you add meat, that will also add calories, so choose the lighter end, such as grilled chicken or maybe shrimp.

Here’s another idea, have you noticed portions at most restaurants these days are large enough for two people? I mean really, when the bowl of pasta they serve your ‘single serving’ in, is as big as the bowl you use at home to serve the whole family, there’s something wrong with that picture. My tip: split the dish with a friend and save money and calories. Or, if your friend doesn’t want to share, ask the server to box up half of the meal before they bring it to your table. That will remove the temptation to continue eating just one more bite, until you’ve ‘just-one-more-bited’ your way through the other half of meal. Try it next time. You’ll save money and have lunch tomorrow!

Tell me, I really want to know how it’s going for ya! I know, I need to share some more recipes, right?  In a bit I’ll share my favorite breakfast recipe that is under 300 calories and packed with protein and is great to grab and go!

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