Featured Article by Organic Liaison Health Director
Deborah Klein, M.S., R.D.
The most important trait to think about when you are dining out is to BE PROACTIVE! Take charge, order exactly what you want.
Try to look beyond the french fries. Ask for fresh fruit, salad, or veggies as a substitute for high fat or high calorie sides. Choose broth, consommé, or bouillon soups in place of cream soups and chowders. Request all gravies, sauces, and dressings on the side. Drizzle a little and toss or do the dipping method. Put your fork in the condiment and into your meal, so you have flavor with every bite.
Opt for lean proteins like fish, chicken, lean beef (loin & round), turkey or cottage cheese. Go for baked, roasted or broiled meats, your heart will thank you for it! Assume broiled and grilled foods are basted with butter. SAVE the fat and calories by asking for dry-grilled foods.
PORTION CONTROL! Mom was right about a lot of things but cleaning your plate was not one of them. Your health is in your hands! Determine your meal portion size by looking at your fist for carbohydrates and your palm for protein. Have half a fist and half a palm for a snack. Eat as many non-starchy vegetables as you want.
Be calmly hungry rather than starved before you go to a restaurant to prevent overeating. Have a balanced snack of a high fiber carbohydrate and a low-fat protein, e.g. apple and a low fat string cheese 2 to 3 hours before your meal.
Remember when dining out, you are served at least double what you need! Cut the cost and the calories by splitting a meal. If nobody cares to share then ask for a take-out container when the food arrives at the table. Pack up half of your meal for lunch tomorrow.
Part of the Organic Liaison plan is to have indulgences once in awhile to prevent feeling deprived. Key to long-term weight loss success! Use the opportunity when dining out to choose an indulgence. Count your dessert or alcohol as the carbohydrate portion of your meal. Have a lean protein source with lots of vegetables and your indulgence.
A balanced restaurant meal could be a grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables, mixed green salad and a slice of chocolate cake. A typical restaurant serving of wine is 6 ounces which equates to 123 calories. So, replace ¾ cups of starch, approximately one fistful when you want your glass of wine. A small slice of chocolate cake, approximately 1 inch thick equals 340 calories. So, by replacing 2 cups of starch, you can fit in your slice of cake. Match your indulgence with a protein and a veggie!
As long as you keep track of your daily caloric intake, you can definitely include an indulgence once in awhile. Please stay away from that destructive philosophy of skipping meals and snacks to save up calories to fit in a huge meal. Anytime you overload, you are setting yourself up for fat storage. If you are an Organic Liaison Member, keep following your daily Organic Liaison Menu Plan! Eat 3 meals and 3 snacks to spread your calories throughout the day to achieve a higher metabolism and fat loss. Check out our Organic Network Locator to find an organic restaurant near you.
Cheers to your healthy dining!
Learn more about Deborah here.
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[Image: from heartbeaz Flickr Photostream/Creative Commons]