Whenever a cool new spot opens, you and your girlfriends make it a priority to be there to sample the wine list and the signature dish. But too many nights out and the accompanying three-course meals can take their toll not just on your bottom line, but on your bottom too.
Don’t fret: you don’t have to completely take leave from your healthy habits just because someone else is preparing the meal. Follow these seven tips to eating right at restaurants and you won’t miss (or gain) a thing:
Snack before you dine
If you’re starving when you reach the restaurant, it’s harder to make sensible choices. A small bowl of high-fire cereal, a low-fat pot of yogurt or a even an apple before your dinner date will keep you from losing reason to ravenousness.
Pass on the breadbasket
Absentminded munching on bread (whether or not it’s been slathered with butter) as you wait for your main course is the biggest diet sabboteur. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest to avoid “ have your waiter remove the basket before you empty it yourself.
Start with soup
Forgo the gourmet poutine and cajun wings and order soup as your appetizer instead “ it will help fill you up without filling you out. Choose a clear, broth-based bowl over anything with cream in it’s name.
Go simple with salads
Salad is an obviously nutritious choice as long as you pick its components wisely. Grilled chicken, shrimp and fish are excellent accompaniments, as are low-fat, crumbled cheeses like goat and feta. Always ask for croutons and dressing on the side, and stick to vinegar-based dressings.
Pick whole grains
Of all the foods you can choose, it’s fibre that will keep you fuller for longer. Most restaurants offer a whole grain option for bread, tortillas and pastas, and many sushi joints will customize your order with brown rice.
Vegetarian options tend to be lower in fat and calories than many of meat-based meals. Pick a stir-fry filled with colourful vegetables and tofu, an egg-white omelet, or a roasted veggie sandwich on whole grain bread.
Decline the wine
A generous glass of the house red can set you back more than 120 calories. Instead of splitting a full bottle with your BFF, order one drink with your meal and order a fancy bottle of sparkling water to sip on the side.