Thursday, January 28, 2010

Restaurant Wars, and Not the Top Chef Variety

We don't eat dinner out very much and it's not because of the economic pinch. In fact, I could use a few nights off every week from the cooking and the cleaning up after the whole business.

We don't do it because I am "calorie conscious." I just don't want to stress out about what hidden ingredients are lurking in the food I am ordering and how many calories that adds up to. So I'm really glad to hear that there is federal legislation pending to require restaurants to publish nutritional information on their menus (at least for restaurants with more than 20 locations). I know that the vast number of Americans would fall off their seats if they saw it.

So that I can partake in restaurant food occasionally, I have developed a number of strategies that work for me in restaurant situations. I'm going to share them here with you in the hopes that these ideas might help you too.

1. Look at the restaurant’s online nutritional information BEFORE going to the restaurant.
2. Choose what you will eat and write it down before entering the restaurant.
3. If nutritional information is not available online, just say “oh, well” and make the best out of the situation. If the restaurant serves non-cream-based soup, order the biggest bowl of it they offer. This will fill you up and make it a heck of a lot easier to control yourself.
4. Do not hesitate to ask for food to be prepared the way you need it to be prepared. We all know to ask for a salad with the dressing on the side, but lately I have started to ask for double lettuce. (I happen to really like lettuce.)
5. Immediately remove food from my plate that is not on my plan.
6. Eat slowly and notice every bite (this is the hardest thing of all for me, practically impossible with kids in a restaurant).
7. When finished, make it final by putting a napkin over the food.
8. If it seems unfair to me that I can’t eat something, acknowledge that I’m right. Then ask myself, which unfairness would I rather have: not being able to eat this or not losing/maintaining my weight? Then say, “oh, well” and get on with it.
9. If having a craving, distance myself from the food by taking a short walk, going outside, going to the bathroom.
10. While others at your table are eating dessert, keep your mouth and hands distracted by ordering yourself a hot tea, hot coffee or hot water with lemon and sipping it slowly.

Got any restaurant strategies of your own you would like to share?  Leave a comment below.


Kristen said...

It is a NY law that the restuarants have their nutrional information listed. It is VERY eye oeping when going out to eat. Although, my husband works for Haagen Dazs Shoppes Comapny so you can imagine how upset his compnay was when this all became a law!!!!!

Wendy and Sophia said...

I wish that law was passed in Ohio! So what happened at Haagen Dazs after the nutritional information was posted? Did it affect their sales? Did people order smaller portions? Did they make menu changes? I'm very curious about the effects of this legislation.

Rachel said...

If I am going out to eat...and I mean "to eat"...I usually ask the waitress to remove the nutritional pamphlet. If I am going somewhere they have bottomless fries, it is for a reason. :) But that was the old me...the new me will be all over it!

ruchi koval said...

Hey Wendy, loving this blog. Here's a startegy I developed trying to lose some baby weight: when everyones having dessert I get a hot tea and sip it slooooowly. My mouth and stomach are busy, its sweet, and gets my craving off that dessert.

Wendy and Sophia said...

Ruchi, That is an excellent strategy. I am going to edit the positing and add it!

Karen Hilsberg said...

this has been very helpful for me. before i go to a new restaurant, or one i have been to before, i check out the menu and take time to decide what to order. then when i get there, i can focus on the friends i am with and not have to stress about what to choose.

Blogging tips