Eating Out Done Healthy (And A Dental Dam Has Nothing To Do With It)

Eating out healthy doesn't have to be so flipping difficult. And it isn't.

I have this client that I’ve been working with recently. What’s so hot about her? Being that I haven’t worked my magic on her yet, it’s certainly not her looks.

Snicker, snicker.

Well, I’m mentioning her because I’m coming to the conclusion that she doesn’t know how to cook worth a damn. Why? Because she eats out so much. How much? Like every…single…day. How many meals? Like every…single…one…of…them.

She who will remain nameless seems to be pretty popular. And her dine-out frequency is owed largely to her friends always asking that she join them to eat. Try as she might to have them do something active, her friends always make sure that the gathering revolves around food and drink. That’s not a surprise since we’ve been conditioned to associate food with socialization for anthropological reasons that I’m not going to delve into here (that sure as hell doesn’t mean that you can’t Google it!).

Now, Lee this unnamed person requested advice that could help her watch her calories when her friends put a gun to her head and force ask her to eat with them. If you’re on a diet and your friends are anything like hers — those dicks more than likely are — the following tips on how to eat out healthy may be useful to you too.

Look at you, getting for free the info that she paid me for!

Ellipses

List item oneMost restaurants post their menus and nutritional info online. So decide on the establishment that you’re going to enough in advance so you can do your homework. Once done, select a dish. This way, not only will you see if the restaurant offers anything healthy but choosing what you’ll eat before you arrive can stop you from caving in to temptation when you hear what others are ordering or falling prey to your company’s encouragement to treat yo’self.

If the restaurant doesn’t have its menu online or just offers nothing but calorie bombs loaded in fat, sugar, and sodium, then move on to the next joint.

 

List item twoMake a reservation. There’s nothing worse than going to a restaurant and seeing a line out the door. Reserving tables not only eliminates wait time but also stops your growling stomach — NOT your brain — from deciding what you’re going to eat once you finally sit down.

 

List item threeEat as you regularly would throughout the day. Skipping meals in an attempt to make space for your outing will only increase the chances of you being hungry by the get-together and ordering food you probably wouldn’t have. So if you’re meeting friends for lunch, eat breakfast (if you normally do). Dinner? Eat all the meals and snacks that you usually do up to the time of the dinner. Simple!

Then several minutes before leaving, eat a small low-calorie, high protein meal. The low calories won’t fill you up enough that you can’t partake with your friends but the high protein content will give you a sense of satiety so the feeling of hunger doesn’t come into play and influence your menu choice.

 

List item fourAsk for shit. Don’t be scared. Open your mouth hole, move your lips and let some words fly out. What can you ask for, besides for the waiter to charge you for a room for the hotel next door and meet you there at the end of their shift with a bottle of Merlot? Well, there’s a lot!

Ask the server how a menu item is prepared. For example, it’d be a good thing to know if the sweet potato fries are doused in an OPEC tanker worth of oil.

Ask what options are available. For example, have the waiter lean in and then say “Sure, the menu says this…but a little something-something in the tip part of the receipt says that you know of some ingredients in the kitchen that can be added to make a dish healthier.”

Ask to swap starchy shit (e.g. rice, pasta, potatoes) with veggies. The fiber will cut calories while making you more regular and less full of shit!

The menu describes a meat or veggie item as fried, crispy, crunchy, sautéed? Ask for it to be flame grilled or broiled instead of being cooked with cream, butter, oil.

And as everybody has heard before, ask that sauces and dressing come served on the side instead of your food already swimming in it.

Oh yeah, also ask for a doggy bag to come with your meal. When the entrée is served, box half of it and eat the rest. Considering that restaurant dishes can be double to quadruple the recommended serving size, this is one of the best methods to avoid overeating without being more anal than a Mike Adriano production.

 

List item fiveWith their huge portions, remember that restaurants are basically serving nothing but fancy super-sized meals. So in addition to keeping your portion size down with a take-away box, you can: (1) choose one or two seafood- or vegetable-based appetizers as your main course rather than ordering from the entrée side; or

(2) look to the kid’s menu for your main meal. People say you act like a nine year old, right? Might as well give them something to talk about!; or

(3) get that jumbo meal and split it with your friend. Sharing is caring, right? Wait a minute, though! A good friend would know that you don’t like sharing food. So hmmmm…if you need a way to tell your real friends from your frenemies, then yeah! Go ahead, put that relationship to the test!!!

 

List item sixDepending on the establishment and local laws, you may be able to bring along your home-cooked food.

SHOCKER!

Sure, you may get some jokes cracked at your expense. But remove the Tupperware lid and dig in…as you keep in mind your dining partners may eat as they like now while you can’t but they’ll come to eat their words because you stuck to your plan.

 

List item sevenIf you have strict dietary concerns, then don’t eat out as much.

I know, SHOCKER!

 

List item eightSome of the tips you may have come across before. Some may be new to you, but you’ll most certainly see them elsewhere. This right here is a bonus tip that you’ll only get from me, NOWHERE ELSE:

Be polite, but firm, when asking how shit is cooked, if X can be replaced with Y, if Z can be served a certain way, etcetera.

Don’t be cunty with your restaurant demands!

But if you’re anything like the average American who drinks 4 cups of plain water daily, you might need to be wild disrespectful towards your waiter and risk getting your food spat in for the extra hydration.

Remember, kids, water is important and you should be chugging at least 8-12 cups of the stuff!

Ellipses

As mentioned, I won’t touch on the anthropological reasons for why humans gather around food. It’s really not all that important for our purposes here. All I’ll lend commentary to is that eating as a social activity more than likely began with families or members of the clan circling around the fire and shooting the shit as they waited for their mastodon to finish roasting. That then evolved into what we see now, where socialization and food seem to go hand-in-hand to the point that social functions are expected to involve eating.

Hanging with the fellas? Girl’s night out? On break and exchanging gossip with coworkers about who earned their promotion by laying on their back? A date to act on your best behavior to fool someone into eventually sleeping with you? All bets are that it’ll be done over food and drinks at a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, some kind of eatery.

In the old days, people didn’t have the gobs of leisure time that we now enjoy to chill with each other because — DUH!!! — putting food on the table, clothes on their back and a roof over their head all required labor-intensive work. On top of that, the foods that they ate when they did get together weren’t as fattening as the items we dine on at restaurants, our social gathering spots. As a result, their weight and health weren’t impacted by socializing, which was a rare event. The same can’t be said for modern man with his sedentary lifestyle and almost daily mixing of food and social interaction.

This socializing that always revolves around eating is often the unrecognized cause for many people’s weight gain and associated health problems. As an illustration, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates that one meal at a fast-food outlet or full-service restaurant raises the average American’s caloric intake by about 134 calories a day. This translates to two extra pounds were someone to eat one meal away from home every week for a year. While an added two pounds is nothing to cause much of a stir about, the problem is that those pounds add up over time — never mind the fact that most Americans eat out 3 or more times per week, leading to the rivers of sodium, mountains of added sugar, and oceans of saturated fat resulting in much greater annual girth. Besides gaining weight, the failure of many to identify this impact of outside food is also why they often have difficulty shedding the pounds despite their careful grocery shopping and regular exercise.

It’s for these people that the above tips on how to eat out healthy are provided. And with them, any social butterfly trying to become healthy and fit should be able to do so without having to pull a Howard Hughes and turn into a recluse.

[this is the part where you say “Thank you, Monster”]

You’re welcome, ingrates!

Do you eat out on the regular? More than a girl-girl scene? My, that’s a lot! That being the case, which tip(s) do you find the most practical and are likely to use?
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