As a “sophisticated lady” – not to call it “lazy” – I love to go out to eat. Who wants to think about the menu for the day ahead of time? A couple of years ago, not me! Especially when you have a teenager, a baby, a husband, and everyone is in the mood for something different.. back then my answer was: “this is not a restaurant, the kitchen is closed”, always finding excuses to avoid the cooking. As a consequence we ended up eating out at restaurants an average of 5 nights per week. Of course, that was the time when my weight reached its peak..
Statistics tells us that most Americans who are struggling with their weight eat out too often, and don’t know how to make the right decision when choosing the menu. For example, my dear husband loves steak and every time that he is given the option of sides he lets his tummy interfere with his brain at the crucial moment of picking between salads, veggies, bake potato, or French fries: he will pick the last one. Somehow it looks that the only word we catch from the waiter’s speech is “fry”..
You don’t have to start your journey to lose weight by avoiding restaurants, all you need to do is to learn that words like ‘steamed’, ‘broil’, ‘baked’, and ‘grilled’ are part of most menus. You don’t have to be afraid of asking the waiter to modify the recipe. You can give him instructions about the ingredients you prefer to avoid on your plate. Remember, just because the chef offers the salmon with a “creamy sauce” it’s not your duty to add those calories; grilled salmon is absolutely tasty without the extra load of butter, fat, flour, and who-knows-what. Remember you are the customer and you are always right!
It’s easy to make the smart choice by eating out healthy! For example, try to pick white meats – fish, chicken, and turkey – over red meats. Always stick to veggies and salads as sides. Avoid the bread altogether along with alcoholic and sugary beverages. At breakfast and lunch time, here are some other words worth learning: wheat, multigrain, all bran, rye, barley, quinoa, wild and brown rice, buckwheat, and wheat germ. Favor mustard over mayo and vinaigrette over thousand islands, fruits over chips. Don’t be shy with the greens, they are trendy, nutritious, and delicious; the exception to the rule of “less is more” – with greens you may go wild.
As you know, nowadays there are many restaurants embracing the concept of healthy food with delicious flavors already made with the right amount of calories to help you stay fit. If you come to Miami, here are some suggestions of my favorite places: Miami Juice, Juice & Java, Julio’s Natural Foods, and Whole Foods.
Just because you decided to switch into a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean you must give up the fun. Going to a restaurant is not only about eating, it’s about sharing, socializing, and interacting with other people. Go out and enjoy life!