Taking Care of Yourself When Eating Out

It’s not always easy to find a restaurant that prepares food that fits your needs.  Most restaurant food is too high fat, too salty, and too overcooked.  But you don’t have to allow that to be your undoing.  If you have your boundaries set firmly in your mind ahead of time then you’re less likely to waver when faced with the menu and the food aromas.

I eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables so when I eat out I usually look through the available salads.   Bear in mind that the cheaper restaurants typically use iceberg lettuce and limp tomatoes with a huge dollop of fatty dressing.  You don’t want that!  A lot of places that don’t have a better selection of salads using dark, leafy greens and a variety of vegetables might at least have a Caeser salad which uses romaine lettuce.  They always seem to use too much dressing so you will need to ask for it on the side.  It’s okay to ask for what you want.  If you’re willing to ask for what you want then tell them you want a salad and give them a list of ingredients that are acceptable.  You can carry around an index card that has them listed and ask them to give it to the chef and see if he will create a nice salad for you.  Ask for the dressing on the side and a vinaigrette is better than a creamy dressing.

If they have a selection of possible salads that use good lettuce but have other ingredients you don’t want then ask for a substitute.  If I want to eat vegetarian and their best salad selections have meat on them then I will ask for avocado or something else in place of the meat.  Most places are willing to be flexible.  If they’re not then maybe you shouldn’t be eating there.

When selecting your meat or fish it’s best to choose grilled or baked.  Beware of seasonings and cream sauces.  Prepackaged seasoning mixes are frequently used and they contain MSG and other chemicals.  That’s just asking for a headache not to mention the damage to your brain cells.  Tell them you want either no seasoning or just salt and pepper or whatever you desire.  The cream sauces are very fatty and may also contain chemicals.  I usually ask for no seasoning and it tastes just fine.  Just know that they always oversalt everything.  Have you ever noticed how thirsty you are after eating out?

If you’re getting cooked vegetables then steamed are best.  You don’t need a boatload of butter to make them taste good.  And if you have to load your baked potato with butter, sour cream, bacon bits, and cheese then why bother?  Just a little bit will enhance the flavor and your arteries will thank you.

As for dessert, you are better off not eating sugar at all.  But if you feel deprived without it then at least share it with someone or take the rest of it home for later.  As for me, if I had a whole pie in front of me I would eat it right then and there so I don’t even go there.  It’s addictive and it makes me crazy, not to mention the inevitable headache.

The huge portions that restaurants serve is another issue.  Ask for a takeout container as soon as they bring your food and put half of it away.  I have a friend who puts an ice chest in her car every time she eats out so she’s always prepared.  She always gets two meals out of one.  You can feel virtuous about not wasting food.  If the starving people on the other side of the world could be helped by our cleaning our plates every time then world hunger would have been eliminated a long time ago.  How about this?  Every time you refrain from overeating, put some money in a piggy bank and periodically donate it to a food charity.  Or if you want to be charitable to yourself also then save that money towards the new clothes you’ll be able to buy when you lose weight.  The point is to feel good about yourself.

The other day I was at a networking luncheon where I had no choice in the meal selection.  The salads were already on the table when I got there.  I ate it without the dressing and then was able to have a second one because of someone who didn’t show up.  I put the cooked meat and vegetables in a plastic container that I had brought with me to save for my husband.  I hid the dessert behind the table centerpiece and just kept passing the bread.  I had snacked a little before going so wasn’t ravenous, which helped.  Since networking is a necessary part of my business I can’t avoid it but I refuse to let it derail me from my healthy journey.

Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is a vital part of staying on track with your food and physical health.  That kind of topic is dealt with on my other blog website at http://www.DrAnnBDavis.com.  Check it out!

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