Wednesday, March 21, 2012

how to eat out, healthfully

Hi, howdy, hey... how are ya? It's certainly been awhile. I returned to New York yesterday morning exhausted but so completely full on the loveliness of recent Oklahoma memories. I must admit I'm pretty busy playing catch-up now though. Point is, I will tell you all about our local OKC evening, St. Patrick's Day festivities in Dallas, lunch on a Texan ranch, late night concert and family weekday brunch in Tulsa, and dinner and a movie date... but I can't do so quite yet. Instead, I thought I'd write another how to post. Traveling often translates to non-stop dining out. And as much as that is certainly a dream come true, it can be a concern when it comes to feeling our best. This is how I eat out healthfully, whether I'm half-way across the country, world, or just around the block:
Order two drinks. I don't mean to say you should limit yourself to two alcoholic beverages throughout the meal (although such advice wouldn't be unwise), just that you should have a glass of water in addition to whatever it is you feel like drinking. Preferably not soda though, please. Unlike in a bar environment where guzzling water may make you feel uncomfortable or just not fun, there's no reason not to stay hydrated at the table. It'll keep your hunger cues in check so that you're less likely to unintentionally overindulge. Not to mention that water is key in regulating your body's temperature and maintaining other bodily functions. Plus, I hear it'll keep you from getting a headache after one too many glasses of wine...
Start with a salad. For years, diet "experts" have been praising first-course salads with reducing overall calorie intake at a meal, and in 2008, Penn State researchers proved it. Honestly though, that's not why I'm suggesting you start with a salad. Start with a salad because restaurant salads are just better. Usually they'll contain unique ingredient combinations, or at least, fresh vegetables we don't often think to add to salads at home. This fact alone makes the whole salad-eating thing more exciting. Furthermore, starter salads are the perfect way to consume a good amount of nutrient-rich plant foods which will not only benefit your overall health but also ease your mind. By having a salad first, you can confidently enjoy whichever entrée it is you are truly craving without regret. Really, truly. Guilt is not welcome at most restaurants anyway; she sucks.
Have dessert if you want to. Most of the time, I am completely satisfied after a restaurant meal of two courses. With that said, I like chocolate, a lot. Sometimes I'll opt to split something sweet with the table. Or, if I know the restaurant's dessert menu is incredibly appealing from the beginning, I'll split my main dish to ensure I have room for le Mousse au Chocolat, the Chocolate Cake "Brioche", etc. For instance, at the end of the photographed meal above (one of the prix-fixe variety, no less), I enjoyed a cup of gelato. A little extra sugar won't actually do any harm; Reuters says so. And since dining out is often a rare occasion that is both pleasant and social, you should savor it in every way you can.


  1. Love this advice! And I'm working on that water thing... I can get terribly carried away on the vino!

  2. When you're out to eat guilt is not invited :D

  3. Oof, the water thing gets me every time! Although I tend to drink a LOT of water when I'm eating, and none at all when I'm out on the town. Funny how that happens...

    Dessert every day, please :-)

  4. my tip = don't starve yourself before a big meal out because you'll just end up gorging yourself on the bread!

  5. Gillian: Thanks, lady! You know I know what you mean ;).

    Sophie: Exactly :).

    Katie: Super funny. And I know you're a dessert queen! I actually don't always, always crave it.

    Anna: Great tip! Whoever said that people should "save their calories" when they're planning on going out to eat was clearly insane...


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