I constantly survey business travelers on the topic of their health and wellness challenges when on the road. The biggest concern is always, “I can’t control my weight when I have to eat out so much.” (It’s followed very closely by lack of sleep, in case you’re wondering…). “Just tell me what to eat,” is the plea uttered by the vast majority of new clients.
Well, I’ve listened and I’m hard at work on the launch of Dine Out/Lose Weight™ but it won’t be finished until October. That doesn’t help you now, does it? And we all want instant gratification… So, here are a few tips to get you started. They are the tip of the iceberg but should keep you going until I can reveal all my secrets in October!
In a previous post, I talked about zoning out with menus. That’s when your eyes glaze over and reason evaporates. You are suddenly incapable of making decent menu choices, even though you walked into the restaurant planning on having consommé and broiled chicken with a green salad. Well, click your heels three times and come back to reality. Here’s how we’re going to address the menu…
Start by mentally eliminating all unsuitable items from the menu. I say mentally because it might not be appropriate to whip out your biro and start putting lines through dishes on someone’s elaborately designed menu. These dishes will have key words like cream, fried, cheese or all three.
Look at the remaining dishes and see how you might be able to manipulate them into something healthy. Look for vegetables, other than white potatoes. They are going to be the star of your plate, but they might be hiding as a side dish. Sautéed spinach, broccoli, asparagus or green beans seem to be the most common options.
Find some protein to accompany said vegetables otherwise you won’t feel full. This will include fish, seafood, lean meats and poultry, tofu and beans. They should be prepared without elaborate sauces.
See if you can get extra vegetables and have them instead of potatoes, white rice or other starches. If you’re a carb lover, then pick the good guys such as brown rice, quinoa and barley, just limit your portion to half a cup.
Make sure the dish comes with a green salad, otherwise order one. Make sure it’s dressed with an olive oil based dressing. Anything creamy is on the out so adios to ranch and blue cheese. Sorry, but you’re here to lose weight. If dressing is on the side, you can pour about half of it on your salad. This will vary by restaurant. Some establishments bring you half a bucket of dressing while others will give you a thimble-full.
Drink water until you order and ignore the bread basket. Don’t feel deprived, you’re going to eat as much of the healthy stuff as you like, until you feel full. Instead of reaching satiety by overindulging on evil, sugary carbs, you’ll get there with the help of the protein and good fats you’re consuming, such as olive oil in your salad dressing.
Once you’ve ordered, now you can include a glass of wine, which you will enjoy with your food. Drinking on an empty stomach leads to less rationale around food choices and the alcohol enters your bloodstream way too fast. You may find yourself dancing on the table for your clients, or tearfully telling them about the demise of the pet spider you had as a child. (Okay, guilty. His name was Incy Wincy. Not very original but I loved him).
Pick your poison. If you REALLY want dessert, you can have three small tastes to savor. Or, you can have a glass of red wine or champagne instead. But not both.
Try on these steps and see how they work for you. There’s much more to this but you have been officially pointed in the right direction. Let me know how you do and please feel free to post questions.