|Garlic Grilled Cheese at the Eden Alley Cafe on the Plaza|
I have found that one of the obstacles with calorie counting is that I like to eat at local restaurants that do not have that information available. Many of my clients face the same issue. I plan on being a foodie for life so how can I eat the fresh, local cuisine without crashing my diet? I actually started writing an e-mail to answer that question for a client before realizing it was turning into a blogpost!
For dining out locally, I would suggest starting with a salad to load up on vegetables before your entree. Also, make sure you finish a full glass of water. This will do a few things:
1. The fiber + H2O combo will help your stomach feel full.
2. If your blood sugar is low it will help it normalize before the calorie-packed entree arrives, so that you don't feel like you are starving.
3. If you haven't been good about getting your vegetables in during the day, then it will give you a big dose of them to make up for that.
4. The fat from the salad dressing will activate your CCK hormone (it takes 20 minutes, and tells your brain that you are full, and it is activated by fat).
Try to choose wisely for your entree. Look for lean cuts of meat like sirloin, filet mignon, pork loin, pork chops. Order fish or chicken breast, but be careful on sauces. Skip rich sauces that contain a lot of butter or cheese. When in doubt, ask your server. Pay attention to how menu items are prepared. Opt for items that are grilled, broiled, roasted, baked, steamed, poached, or braised. Try to stay away from fried foods. If something is sauteed, then ask your server what the item is sauteed in, butter, olive oil, etc. Ask for a lighter preparation if available.
Try to get in the habit of eating only half to 3/4 of your entree, and save the leftovers for lunch the following day. Sometimes this is difficult so you have stay mindful of your goals, and change your thought process. Replace the urge to clean your plate with the following mindset:
1. If it's so delicious that you want to finish it, then remind yourself how awesome it will be to have it again the next day.
2. It will also save you the trouble of prepping your lunch.
3. It's economical. You get your money's worth when you get two meals out of it for the price of one.
4. When you have no idea what the calorie content is of what your eating, you can still rest assured that by splitting the meal that you split the calories too.
5. Feeling bloated, stuffed, and (even worse) ashamed is no picnic. Eating lighter feels better physically and mentally. Knowing that you are working to accomplish your goal of eating healthy produces a positive mental outlook that transfers to better self-esteem.
Please share your nutrition/diet tips for dining out locally in the comments! Let's crush our goals together!