I am curious as to whether you eat any meals at restaurants on your plan, and how do you manage to stay on plan when doing so? Do you have a strategy?
My strategy is:
DO NOT eat the breadbasket! None!
Have unsweetened iced tea or water with fresh lemon slices to drink.
Order something that has a lot of protein, and go for leaner ones in general, which means usually fish, and sometimes chicken. If I really want a steak I will have that but choose a SMALL steak and ask for it to be cooked with no butter or oil.
Ask for no sauces on the meat, or sauces on the side and then use a small amount.
If the dish comes with fries, potatoes, rice, or pasta, I ask for "double veggies" instead. I ask for them to be steamed with no added butter or salt.
Then I also order a small salad of veggies only, dressing on the side. I dip my fork into the dressing. No croutons or cheese on the salad but I often have blue cheese dressing.
No dessert. (When I have lost more weight I may choose to split something small, maybe fruit based)
This really works for me and I SO enjoy my meals out! Occasionally I might have part of an appetizer, but I make it something low carb like a bit of cheese or some bites of ahi tuna roll.
05-25-2010, 12:56 PM
We don't eat out often for two reasons: One, we can't often afford it; two, most restaurant food is unsatisfying, taste-wise, in comparison to the stuff we cook at home.
I use mostly the same strategies that you do when eating out, although if we're going to eat out I sometimes will use that as a planned splurge meal and get a hamburger with onion rings or something like that at a good local joint. (We don't do fast food and I don't like to waste my splurges on national chain restaurants.)
05-25-2010, 01:02 PM
I don't order anything fried. Usually I get the grilled chicken or fish with veggies and a roll(1 starch is on my plan). On occasion I might have a bite of an appetizer and dessert, but I try to stay away mostly because of the empty calories. However, I don't deprive myself of any cravings. I just handle it in very small portions.
05-25-2010, 01:05 PM
Warmaiden, I want to come eat at your house! :rofl: I can't yet say my food is tastier than restaurant food. I wish I could!! I do consider myself a fair cook, but I cook without salt. Therefore, to our taste buds, restaurant food IS sadly still better. :(
I've learned to ask for veggies without salt and butter. Who knew they smothered it in salt and butter? Nothing tastes worse or more wrong to me than salty, buttery broccoli.
Dressing on the side.
I typically order grilled chicken or fish.
I cut the portions in half and either share with my children or take the leftovers home.
I avoid restaurants because I've become a salt snob. But I still enjoy restaurant food!
05-25-2010, 01:16 PM
Generally, we stay away from restaurants, but we go through phases where we'll eat out a couple times a week and then not have it for awhile. Generally, I get some kind of meat, and get 2 veggies as sides (no potatos, corn, fried stuff, etc). I actually don't mind the butter, I just make sure I allow for it in my calories. I stay away from the bread. Unsweet tea with no artificial sweeteners with lemons, only because I used to order water with lemon but the water here just tastes awful. I do try and stay away from buttery sauces though.. but if the veggies or meat has a little butter on it from preparation that's fine. I'd rather have that then unnatural vegetable oils that were originally developed for biodiesel.
05-25-2010, 01:27 PM
A big thing for me is considering what I'm doing as my way of life, not "being on a diet." And it's unrealistic for me to exclude restaurant meals completely from my life. I go to restaurants maybe once or twice a month.
I usually study the menu in advance and try to work out something that will fit into my plan. If I went more often, I'd probably worry a bit more about getting plain broiled fish and steamed veggies but since it's a fairly rare thing for me, I can usually get something a little bit more indulgent as long as I plan for it.
I find that my weight does tend to go up a bit the next day or two, no matter how carefully I order, but it seems to come back down pretty quickly from there.
I sometimes get a glass of wine, but mostly just drink water or diet soda. I avoid the bread basket and desserts but will have a baked potato or rice with my meal - I just make sure to eat only part of the portion if it's too big.
05-25-2010, 01:39 PM
As this is a lifestyle for me, not a diet, I do eat out. Before I started my new healthy lifestyle, my b/f and I ate out 6 nights out of 7 and ordered in for the other night!! I don't think it would be realistic for me to have a lifestyle that I didn't eat in restaurants.
I stay on plan by picking places that I've researched ahead of time. I love places that have salad bars as they really allow me to control what I put on the plate.
If I am going to a place that I know has huge portions of even the healthy entrees, I ask for a to go box as soon as I am given my food. I cut what I've been given in half or even thirds and put the other away. If I am feeling particularly weak, I've even taken the to go half out to the car before I start on the rest. My boyfriend laughs when I do this but having ADHD, I often forget the to go box altogether and it definitely lessens the opportunity to open the box and polish off the other half or 2/3 if it's out in the parking lot.
I don't eat fast food hardly at all anymore, if I am stuck for food and that is all that is available, I get the grilled chicken sandwich minus any mayo or cheese. I ask for extra lettuce and tomato and then top it with mustard. I skip the fries and order a diet soda or have iced tea.
I also feel more comfortable asking for food prepared in a special way in a restaurant. I used to be afraid of speaking up. Now I just ask for a grilled chicken breast, no extra oil and plain steamed veggies. I also don't feel bad asking the waitress to take away the bread or chips after b/f has had his.
05-25-2010, 01:52 PM
When I am at home I rarely eat out but I have been on the road because of family issues a lot this year. Eating out is forced then. I use many of the strategies you have already listed.
My biggest strategy is to know what I am going to order before walking in the door. I find this so less stressful than deciding quickly while someone is waiting.
I looked at the nutritional information on several common food chains and know what to get to eat at them. I recheck every 2 or 3 months because that stuff changes. My family knows where I can stop and where I can't. They have a choice but I can stay on plan. Everyone stays happy that way.
My parents eat most meals out so I had to plan for that. I talked to the owners of the two local restaurant that my parents favor. They don't post their nutritional information but were very helpful in helping me figure out what to eat there. Knowing what to eat before I hit the door just helps me so much.
05-25-2010, 02:28 PM
I'm with Peanuts and Michelle. This is a way of life for me. I can't say that I'll never eat out again. If I know where I'm headed I'll try and look at a menu beforehand so I can prep myself, in a way, by trying to find the best possible choice for me. Doggie bags are always necessary.
05-25-2010, 04:05 PM
We very seldom eat out, and I freely admit this is because I am a control freak who is completely focused on getting to goal, and while I don't have trouble staying on plan in a restaurant, the sodium bloat the next day depresses me horribly. Fortunately, I am also an excellent, highly-adventurous cook, and I love shopping for food and have the time to do so on near-daily basis, and have a very well-stocked pantry, so getting the ingredients I need is not a hardship.
I don't have any particular strategies for eating in restaurants, other than avoiding heavy, rich sauces and sweets. I'm not much interested in alcohol, and when I do drink, it's never more than a small glass or two of wine. (I wish I had my inborn shut-off switch with food, as I do with alcohol!) Basically, when we go out, I'm not throwing caution to the wind, but I do regard it as an indulgence, so other than not wildly overeating, I don't worry too much about it.
05-25-2010, 04:16 PM
We eat out all the time, love it! it's a social thing for us -- no one cares what i eat, i've discovered LOL and I'm there for the company and not having to cook!
#1 i get a diet coke, as i don't drink it anywhere else anymore
#2 i've never been anywhere where I can't get a big salad with grilled chicken on it, and i totally cheat and bring a thingie of my OWN dressing just cuz i don't trust them completely LOL
#3 or i'll get a small steak and a side of veg
#4 sometimes, a burger is less calories than the salad! so I'll get that, lose the top bun and a side salad
#5 steal an onion ring off someone :D
05-25-2010, 04:27 PM
I prefer to eat food I make for health, cost and taste reasons.
That said, I do eat out and enjoy it when I do!
I eat a plant based diet, and the places I eat have a lot of options that are more balanced than standard fare.
Yesterday I ate out at a favorite place and had the following:
Lemon artichoke spinach garlic and red potato soup
Green salad with shredded beets, carrots, cucumber, tomato and a lemon
I actually ate all the salad and cornbread, a few bites of the soup and tempeh and saved the rest for later.
Besides the cornbread (a nice treat), it's pretty close to how I eat at home much of the time.
05-25-2010, 04:42 PM
I eat out maybe twice a week with either friends or family. My usual routine and mindset is this.
*I tell the wait staff I have dietary concerns and I hate to be a problem but it's because of my health issues I have to order the way I do. They are usually very kind, cautious and helpful without thinking I am being a B*tch and making their job hard.
*Get water or unsweet tea.
*Grilled meat ask for it without seasoning or butter/oil
*No croutons,bacon or cheese. No mayo, light dressing on side always.
*Go with steam veggies
*Ask for a to go box when I have eaten half. I have learned if I let it sit there I will continue to pick at it even when I am full.
*No longer pick at my kids uneaten food
* 90% of the time skip dessert 10% have one bite of something my family is sharing.
*Eat my grilled chicken sandwich or burger without the top bun with a fork or ask for it lettuce wrapped.
*Mexican chip basket took awhile to adjust to. I put 10 chips on a napkin and move the basket away. I slowly eat my 10 chips and drink water. Usually by time I am done my vegetarian dish has arrived.
*At Mexican I skip rice and bean and tortillas always. Ask then not to bring them.
05-25-2010, 05:09 PM
Rarely. When I join friends at a restaurant I usually only get an ice tea or diet coke. If I do decide to eat I make the best choice I can but don't worry too much about it as it's only 1 meal.
When I'm traveling and need to eat a meal out I will usually choose fast food over sit down restaurant as I know the size and proportion is standardized so more reliable choice for me. A common dinner on the road is Wendy's chili and bottle of milk.
05-25-2010, 05:14 PM
I eat out regularly (once or twice week).
I ate lunch out today with some coworkers. I basically ate 1/3rd of the entree (rice with stir fried veggies/tofu) and was satisfied. I also brought a healthy mid afternoon snack (apple and a small portion of walnuts) since I knew I'd be eating a smallish portion for lunch.
My rules are:
No fried foods
Limit starchy carbs (rarely have noodles, rice, bread, etc)
Choose steamed foods sometimes
Portion out my food, no seconds (We often go out for Chinese so basically I serve myself and package up the rest for leftovers)
Leftovers go to my husband
05-25-2010, 05:57 PM
I eat out daily, usually lunch time, where we try to eat our biggest meal. I always order iced tea without sugar. I'm currently on Wonderslim so I do allow myself the more lenient plan, with fruit and bread. I try and only have them at that meal though. Always get brown rice instead of white, avoid potatoes, fried stuff. I want a plan I can stay on forever and always cooking at home sure isn't it.
05-25-2010, 06:07 PM
We generally don't eat out unless on vacation where we opt for fresh seafood choices. We have been on a whole foods lifestyle for a while and just choose not to have preservatives and I'm not trusting enough in the restaurants near me to even bother. There are some great restaurants about 30 min away that I know have fresh ingredients so if I'm in the area thats where we opt to eat. I pretty much cook breakfast,lunch and dinner if we eat dinner on a daily basis...the cooking is great, the clean up is the real headache!
05-25-2010, 06:39 PM
I eat out on occassion. I handle it by looking up nutrition information online and deciding beforehand what I'll order. Typically it is a salad with grilled meat or a protein and veggies. I also order only water to drink for two reasons 1) I refuse to pay $2.50 - $3.00 for a drink; and 2) it's healthy and flushes out any extra sodium.
05-25-2010, 07:25 PM
I usually am there for social reasons, and most often I just get coffee. I don't pick at other people's food or complain about being hungry.
If I must get something, I usually go for the soup--broth or bean based soups are usually very low calorie, and they look like a meal to me--a lonely chunk of chicken breast and vegetables on a huge empty plate depresses me.
05-25-2010, 08:10 PM
Not often at all-- I really don't like restaurant food much.
05-25-2010, 09:41 PM
Yep - I love food, I love eating out and I have eaten out at least once a week since I started.
Now that I'm on maintenance, I have treat meals once a week. But, I have plenty of restaurant meals where I eat on plan without problems. I am a special order QUEEN. Double veggies, dressing on the side, no butter, doggy bag up front. And I will send things back in a heartbeat if they don't come the way I asked.
I also like restaurants that have their calorie information available online. I always try to pick what I want before I even get there, so I'm not tempted by a yummy described dish in a menu or the sight/smell of food around me. Sometimes, I don't even open the menu.
I also stick to my "forever no's" - on plan restaurant meals or treat resturant meals. I don't drink sugary soda, I have no more than 2 glasses of wine or one piece of bread out of the basket, I don't eat cream sauces and I avoid fried foods (except for 1-2 a year calimari - Jason hates it, so it doesn't come up very often, luckily). I have huge issues with lots of cheese (unpleasant bathroom visits) so that naturally limits my cheese consumption - so no cheesey nachos or lasagna or such.
05-25-2010, 09:45 PM
Before I pick a place to eat out, I will check the nutritional guide online. I will not eat out at a restaurant that doesn't post their nutritional information. Just because the place claims a food is healthy, doesn't mean it is. So, I pick what I am going to eat before I get to the restaurant and I don't deviate from my decision.
I've given up any form of drink other than water, and to be honest, I don't miss it.
I defintely recommend checking the nutritional information on salads, etc. too! There's a salad at Jason's Deli, that has 1000 calories! And without dressing, it's still over 900!