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Eating out stinks!!!!

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Old 02-13-2011, 03:27 AM   #1
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Default Eating out stinks!!!!

Eating out on a diet stinks!!! I have had lot of friend's birthdays lately and we do dinner for EVERY one of them. It really isn't the fact that I have to go to a restaurant and watch my other friends dine on insanely tasty things while I eat salad that bothers me the most (even though it does suck). It is the fact that I have literally spent probably over $200 on salad in the past month. Everywhere we go, I get a salad and it is always somewhere between $15 and $20. Even if they offer a half salad some places it is still no less than about $15. After tax and tip, I end up spending way too much for a plate of lettuce (with a little chicken, possibly a few other things like dried cranberries, apples or grapes... and no dressing). Since I am being really strict with my calories, I always have them hold any cheese, nuts or other fattening things. It is getting old spending that much money on something that I don't love that much and that would literally cost me $2 if I made it myself at home. I went out tonight and the salad I ordered was pathetic. They gave me like 3 tiny chunks of chicken on it... not even an oz and a tiny amount of grapes and apples.

I would rather just not eat when we go out and eat at home but I did that once and it was really awkward. We are going to a really expensive restaurant next weekend though so I think I am going to just eat before I go and just visit at the restaurant and not eat. I am sure the salad there is going to be very expensive. Also, the group I am going with has a history of everyone just splitting the check (drinks and all). Since I wont be drinking and won't be eating any appetizers or an expensive entree, I'd rather not get strapped with a $50 or $60 bill for a salad... I will just go for the company and not care if it is awkward that I am not eating!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:33 AM   #2
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I have no words of wisdom, but I certainly understand. Salads are insanely overpriced in most restaurants for what you get, probably to prevent too many people from ordering them instead of a real entree.

On the splitting the bill thing, do you think you could just talk to your friends about it? One or two times of I figure is no big deal -- what goes around comes around, good karma, etc. But if nights out really are turning into a weekly event, by asking you to pick up some of the costs of their drinks, in particular, your friends are taking advantage of you, even if unintentionally.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:54 AM   #3
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These days, you can look up calorie counts online for many restaurants. Maybe you are already doing that--but I encourage you to branch out beyond salad. It is possible to get tasty entrees that are not terribly high in calories--or to split them up and take half home if it's a lot of food for one meal. One specific example is the "spiedini" dishes at Macroni Grill--they are delicious and range from 320 to 660 calories.

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Old 02-13-2011, 07:15 AM   #4
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Next time they want you to share in the costs of their drinks and dinner ... do this:
Order about 5-10 vodka and water during the course of the dinner ...one after another. Just take the drink to the bathroom and dump it out..but save the ice...add water to the ice.
It still looks the same. You won't get drunk on plain water.

(tell them you have a bladder problem).
And make sure to let everyone know you are hooked on vodka and water... so they are supporting your new habit. And let them know you just love the fact they payed most of your liquor bill for you.

Once your 10 glasses of water runs up the bill real high, they'll go back to individual bills.

And order food you really like.... a very expensive dish... Take most of it home. Let them subsidize your expensive entree. Once they see you are getting the better of all of them, they will go back to individual bills.

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Old 02-13-2011, 08:55 AM   #5
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At the start of this plan for me, I just didn't eat at the restaurants. Yes, it was a bit weird, but if I ate a good dinner before hand, I wasn't tempted by the food.

I hope you find a way to stand your ground and not to pay for an overpriced meal you didn't eat.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:04 AM   #6
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I have a similar problem when I go out to eat. Since I'm a vegetarian (I will eat seafood though... but VERY rarely... when I say that... I mean once every two or three months... And even then, just Snow Crab legs...), I have a hard time finding anything to eat. Especially since when my family goes out, it's usually to mexican, a steakhouse, or some fast food joint. Which means practically everything has meat in it. With mexican I usually end up ordering a guacemole salad or something, steakhouse a salad or something, same with the fast food joint. And then I get glared at by my family because unfortunately the salads tend to be really expensive... >.<
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:17 AM   #7
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I can totally relate. Although, I agree with some of the above posts about talking to them about the bill. My friends will also split the bill evenly. However, since I don't drink they will always make mine less. To be honest most of the time they will pay for my Diet Coke since I am designated driver.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:25 AM   #8
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I guess birthday dinners might be handled a little differently because you're sort of sharing the cost of the "celebration" - whether you celebrate with the same food and drinks or not. I assume you treat the birthday boy/girl? For celebratory dinners, I would start declining invitations before I'd start putting in the exact amount for my meal and tip (if you were going to do throw a party together at someone's house, you'd split the cost evenly, even if some people didn't eat or drink some things on the menu, I can see how this is just the eating-out version of that).

For regular old dinners out, I would not hesitate to say, here's my $20 (have cash) for my salad and tip. I'm going to the restroom, see ya. And let them figure it out without you. It's not like you're trying to pay for just your two bites of the appetizer, you didn't eat or drink a significant part of the bill and your friends should understand you don't want to pay for it. Chances are, they're not really paying attention to what you eat and drink so it wouldn't occur to them to figure yours differently.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:39 AM   #9
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I understand the frustration, but I would be careful if you are ordering the pre-made salads rather than a house salad with your dressing choice. I get the eat this, not that emails and a lot of restaurant salads, especially those with creamy dressings can have over 1,000 calories!

I usually look up calorie points before I leave and a lot of restaurants now have a "fit" option where they list the menu items that are under a certain amount of calories. You don't have to do only salads, just do your research before hand and only eat half the meal they give you, bring the rest home for leftovers. My husband and I eat out probably once a week because we just get tired of cooking. Lol. And I eat a good variety of things, I just have to check the calories beforehand. I rarely rarely eat a salad out, unless it's a house salad, because they usually have the creamy dressing, bacon or things that I shouldn't be eating.

As for the money thing. I think going and not ordering anything is fine. Just let everyone know you had already ate before you came so you just wanted to come and hang out! Or next time, ask the waitress/waiter if you can get a separate check. I did this once when I went out with my coworkers and they seemed like that was strange of me, but I know I would get charged with extra if we all tried to split the total bill because one way or another you ALWAYS pay more than you should!

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Old 02-13-2011, 09:40 AM   #10
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It's not eating out that stinks, it's eating out under those conditions!

First, the food. I also got sick of salads, I get it. But I never felt like I had to have NONE of the "interesting" stuff, like nuts, etc. I put fun things on salads at home, why not while I'm out (as long as it's a reasonable amount). But even then, salads get boring. I think you need to find some new options! Grilled fish is one of my favorites to eat out. I usually ask for them not to add butter (they add butter to everything) and grilled fish, steamed or grilled veggies and some (small carb) is a great dinner. Most places will work with you to make the food as you like it.

The other issue is paying for others' drinks and appetizers. That's something I'd definitely want to bring up (ideally ahead of time). I'd be happy paying my share for the birthday person, but not all the other stuff too. I wouldn't ask about not paying as much. I would nicely explain why I won't be paying as much...

Good luck!
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Old 02-13-2011, 11:12 AM   #11
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About those drinks: I think people should pay for their own alcohol. I don't drink alcohol, and I'm not about to pay for someone else's drunk.

Sometimes it's just better all the way around if you all agree to pay for your own, and then split the birthday person's bill among you.

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Old 02-13-2011, 11:17 AM   #12
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I check the calorie count ahead of time and I LOVE NYC for making the restaurants post their calories per meal. Each restaurant has options, If there are no fit options, I ask for half serving of an average calorie meal (about 700-100 calories) and I then I eat a tasty meal and am satisfied. I box the rest fo the meal.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:45 PM   #13
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Do you absolutely have to stick to salads? I like my daily salads but I see no reason to eat the same think when eating out. Can't you order a grilled chicken breast (or a grilled fish) with steamed veggies? Most places are happy to oblige. I usually modify my orders as I see fit - for example, I ask for dressing on the side, no sauce, no butter (it depends on what I am ordering), etc.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:48 PM   #14
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I always order soup. I find French Onion soup to be satisfying but reasonable, I usually just adjust what I eat earlier to make up for a bit of the calorie budget.
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Old 02-13-2011, 02:10 PM   #15
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Yu are totally right. eating out sucks and I myself try to do it as little as possible. I hate that so much of socializing always revolves around food. I usually order off the menu and ask for plain grilled shrimp and plain steamed vegetable and it is inevitably 20$. Ugh! I hate that too!
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