Thursday, May 17, 2012

Restaurant Dieting

by Kris Pitcher

We all have occasion to need to go to a restaurant while we are dieting. I was at a lunch meeting recently and my meeting partner said, "How do I stay on my Atkins's plan with this menu?"

I asked him if he wanted me to tell him, and he did. We each had the steak salad, no blue cheese, balsamic dressing on the side. We went on to have a very productive meeting, and delicious lunch. But it can be a little scary to have to eat out while staying on plan.

Your first plan of action is to be prepared. This means don't go hungry. Eat what you are supposed to eat before you even go. You can always eat a house salad without dressing just to be eating something. Yes, I've eaten in the car just before or just after trips to restaurants.

You can select and suggest restaurants based on a menu you know is going to work for you. Look on line at menus before you go and determine what is going to work. This takes planning, but isn't that the business we're in?

Order a la cart. Usually you can find things that are going to work for you when you order item by item. A side of this, and a portion of that is often going to be better than a huge plate packed with sides you aren't wanting to eat.

Plan to have your re-feed or cheat meal during that trip. If you are on a plan where you get a little bump of a cheat meal, have it out during the special occasion. This is always nice, but be moderate and I always recommend planning ahead. It's not a buffet anything goes mentality. It should be a controlled environment for you to remain successful.

Take your protein. I have no shame in ordering a salad and digging my chicken out of my big purse to put on top. No one (at the restaurant) has ever noticed. I get exactly what I need and it's controlled.

There are always good choices on the menu. Even at fast food restaurants (cringe) if you are in a pinch, there is something you can select. You might need to pull the buns off, or manipulate it somehow, but you can manage. The nutritional information is available for you, use it.

The key is not feeling like you can't eat out. Restaurants will prepare things the way you need them if you request it. They are savvy and have low calorie selections, you just need to make them. Enjoy a trip out with friends or family at a restaurant - just be prepared ahead of time.

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