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EnglishMcTeach 01-26-2014 08:19 PM

Date Night/ Calorie Friendly Restaurant Choices
 
Hi All!

Disclaimer: let me say that I was considering putting this in the diet section, but I felt that it also had to do with 20-something lifestyle, so I put it here. (Also the diet section seems to be specific questions about specific diets).

I just wanted to ask, what in your opinion or experience is: 1. the most calorie-counting friendly restaurant choice and 2. the best choice you've made at a restaurant in regards to your goals? 3. Also, how do you deal etiquette-wise when you are out with other people in regards to taking note of what's on your plate before you eat it to count the calories?

I've had good luck at Thai places as long as I stick with summer rolls (a rice wrap with shrimp and veggies inside, not fried, and definitely use the sriracha instead of hosin) and small veggie tom yum soup.

VikingBride2Be 01-26-2014 08:28 PM

1. Chain-wise: Chili's, TGI Friday's or Outback, otherwise I like anywhere that isn't strictly bar food. Otherwise I'm stuck wondering what fried thing would be the least horrible for me. I know a lot of people will say Applebee's, I'm just not a fan.

2. We've done Indian recently and I got a tomato based (as opposed to cream based) curry. I didn't order any Naan (so I didn't eat any!) and limited the rice I allowed myself. At Mexican it's easy for me to order fajitas and just eat it straight from the skillet without any of the tortillas/condiments.

I struggle so much with Thai food because I LOVE IT but my favorite meals are heavy rice/noodle dishes so I've just been staying away for now. When I'm feeling like I need an Asian food fix, we head for sushi instead.

smashlers 01-26-2014 08:28 PM

Mexican. You just can't go wrong. I always get shrimp tacos or fajitas and ask for them to cook it "light". They use less oil and know what you are talking about, people do it all the time. I promise. Ask for corn tortillas instead. Then when the food actually comes I usually just eat it with a fork and only really have one tortilla.

Also, if you know you are going out account for that. If I know we are going out for dinner I have a light breakfast and a light lunch.

sweetpeony 01-26-2014 09:20 PM

I find i can pretty much eat anywhere as long as i am allowed to make modifications to what i order. I try to stick to things that are not fried and limit the amount of starch i eat (potatoes/rice)

Pattience 01-26-2014 09:26 PM

Basically if you just keep your portion size down, you should be fine. At thai, don't heap your plate up. Or any of those restaurants where you might help yourself from several dishes. Because there's only two of you, maybe its better not to share the main meal and just order one for yourself and share rice.

If the portions come out large and it looks high cal, just avoid eating half of it. and drink lots of water. Order a side salad with separate dressing so you can put on only a little bit.

Don't ruin what you order by asking them to keep all the yummy things off. It could end up being very bland.

Locke 01-26-2014 09:37 PM

Portion size is absolutely key. My girlfriend is coming over tonight and she loves pasta. I'm making stroganoff which is super rich and full of carbs. I will be eating mostly salad with a small (one cup) portion of stroganoff.

Restaurant portions are gigantic. Just eat until you are satisfied and STOP.

Munchy 01-27-2014 10:27 AM

I'll eat anywhere - Mexican is easy if you follow what smashlers does, Asian (stick with the plain steamed protein and veggie choices, ask for sauce on the side, and be cognizant of the amount of rice). I usually go for a broiled or grilled protein and get double vegetables instead of a starch. I typically eat half of that meal and bring the rest home for another day.

LilDazed 01-27-2014 10:37 AM

There's this great place called Genghis Grill. It's a make your own stir fry place. You're given a bowl and you get to fill it as much as you want with a huge assortment of veggies, meats, sauces, and spices.

Then you choose what type of starch you'd like (brown rice, white rice, lo mein noodles...). You go and chill at your table while they fry it up and then they bring it out to ya nice and hot.

Since you can add as much as you like, you can easily skip out on the fattier meats and substitute with fish and veggies. Go light on the sauce, choose brown rice, and you got yourself a healthier homemade stir fry.

cdavidowsky37 01-28-2014 03:10 PM

I recently went to Olive Garden and went off of their lighter fare menu. I got the Seafood Brodetto and asked for steamed vegetables instead of the bread that comes with it. It's a fish soup essentially, with tons of veggies in the broth. I didn't even have one breadstick while I was there either! I always, always ask for garden salad with dressing on the side whenever we go out to eat. Just fill up on veggie options and you'll be so satisfied it won't even matter what everyone else has!

Avezy44 01-28-2014 11:02 PM

I love Dave and Busters. The games are fun and the calories are listed (last i've seen... ours got flooded a few years ago and I haven't been back since).

penmage 01-28-2014 11:21 PM

I find it easy to eat at Ruby Tuesday, personally.

Between the salad bar and the veggie trio plate (that might be what it's called, I don't remember, but the portion sizes are quite reasonable and you can pick from several options), I'm usually set! Also, the nutritional information is listed on the Ruby Tuesday site for each item, so that's helpful.

Atarimae 01-29-2014 02:03 AM

Chain restaurant wise, Chili's & Ruby Tuesday are two places I can handle eating at without any issues. One place I /wish/ I had the option of eating at though, is Applebee's. I can't exactly remember what I ordered off their healthy selection, my GOSH. It was definitely worth it.

But for Chili's, I specifically ordered the margarita grilled chicken (or something like that). All that protein/fiber? Can't go wrong!

Sodium intake would be kind of dangerous at these places though so as long as you're not too sensitive to the number on the scale, you'll be okay. :)

Riestrella 01-29-2014 08:21 AM

I'll join the boat that's got "portion control" written on the side. I personally believe life should be enjoyed and that you shouldn't restrict yourself the pleasures of dining out. Yes it's terrible for your health most of the time, but if it's a once in a while event then why not?

I think the key to being "good" at a restaurant is SLOWING DOWN! Man, I am so guilty of being presented with a heap of food and inhaling it! I read a book called "The Japan Diet" and a section was on the way you eat to help with weight loss. Take a bite. Put down your fork/spoon/chopsticks/spork. Chew. Reeeeallly chew. Swallow. Pause. Take a sip of water. Talk a little. Continue. Seriously, it takes a lot of self control to do it but you will find yourself filling up a scary amount faster than you realised. Most importantly STOP when you feel full! Then just throw away what's left, don't take it home! A waste of money, perhaps, but that's the price you pay for indulgence!

mb2004 04-07-2014 12:35 AM

I love love love Applebees. They have some really great options for 550 or under! I love there napa chicken and portabella's So yummy. chicken with tons of veggies and mushrooms. For 550 its great because its not a salad and its just straight yummy.

nonameslob 04-07-2014 01:46 PM

I also am gonna say Ruby Tuesday's has some great options - especially their sides and their 500cal and under menu.

Honestly, though, I don't eat out much anymore, and when I do, I let myself have a treat of something unhealthy (while focusing on not eating beyond when I am full!). Most of the healthier options at restaurants I can make so much tastier at home. So instead of meeting a friend for dinner, I'll often eat dinner at home and meet up for drinks instead afterwards. Or go shopping instead of getting lunch.

Panera is good for a lunch on the go, though. They list all their calories on the menu. Their chicken noodle soup is awesome and low cal, paired with half a sandwich and an apple instead of baguette, and I feel like I've made a wise choice.


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