JJ Virgin: You know the drill. The kids are screaming for dinner, and the only thing in the house is an old box of pasta and some frozen Swansons circa 2008. The solution is to declare it a restaurant night and pack your brood into the car. The kids are thrilled as they order their burgers and fries, but what's Mom to do to stay on her eating plan?
I have five good ways that you can eat out without bursting out of your skinny jeans.
How to Dine Out without Doing Your Diet In: 5 Tips
Break up with bread.
That's right, you're divorcing bread forever and sending it away. There will be no flings and no "just a little bit" of contact. Just banish the bread basket. I like to say, "Don't invite the enemy to the table." Moms know that the kids will probably ignore the bread, and out of frustration, you will keep picking at it until it's half gone. (Or worse.)You wouldn't sit at home with a plate of fresh cookies in your face and try to use your willpower. The bread is the same kind of torture.
Always start with a salad.
Make sure it's greens and veggies. Cover it with some extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Don't order the high-cal ranch salad dressing and then just use the lettuce as a way to eat as much gooey, fattening salad dressing as possible. You're not fooling your body when you declare Thousand Island your favorite vacation spot. Avoid fried foods on your salad like wontons or greasy croutons. And pretty please, don't make your salad into a dessert with dried, sugary cranberries or candied walnuts. What's next? Hot fudge toppings on salad?
Order double veggies, no starch.
It's time to face facts and admit that restaurant starches are usually an unhealthy carb bomb. The rice is usually drowning in tons of sauces or dripping in butter, while the potatoes are "loaded" with bacon, cheese, and sour cream. Go the safe route and do a double order of the veggies, which are usually delicious in restaurants and quite filling. You can bring home any leftover veggies and try to make your kids eat them (good luck), or go the sane route and use them the next day in a wrap or in a salad.
Pack up your protein.
Restaurant portions are HUGE, and you certainly don't need to clean your plate to impress the waitress. Before you start eating, take half of your 2-3 servings of protein and have it wrapped. It will be delicious tomorrow as your lunch, plus it's easy to grab that doggie bag and bring it to work. No fuss, no muss. You can also use that protein (along with your extra veggies) in a delicious steak or chicken wrap. Extra salmon? Use it the next day on fresh greens for a yummy noontime salad. Just keep it hidden from your mate or label it "cauliflower" and no one will touch it.
Practice my three-bite rule.
If it comes down to dessert and everyone wants one, then there are two ways to escape without feeling denied. Share your dessert with a friend, mate, or child. Then practice the three-bite rule, which is the following: you can (occasionally) have a dessert, but just eat three ladylike bites of it. I'm talking you're having dinner with the Queen and you're eating in a very mannerly way. In other words, don't shovel in three truck-driver bites. At the end of those three bites, it's forks down and some nice herbal tea or these words: "Check, please!"
|JJ Virgin, PHD, CNS is a celebrity wellness expert, public speaker, media personality and author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless & Sexy, released May 2010. If you are frustrated with your body and feel like nothing you are doing is working, take her free quiz "Are You Weight Loss Resistant?" at www.jjvirgin.com and receive her monthly LEANzine loaded with insider information on fighting fat and getting lean for life!|