I went out to lunch today and my partner and I decided to split an entree.  Here’s what came to the table – again, THIS IS ONE ENTREE split in half:

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Holy Sha-bee-bob!  That is a TON of food!  Neither of us finished our plates.  I have trouble imagining an NFL line backer being able to finish all of this food.  How many of us were brought up to always clean our plates?  What if we always cleaned our plates every time we went to a restaurant that served enormous portions (which almost all of them do)?

Restaurants want to provide value.  But whose values?  It’s natural for us to want as much as we can get for our money.  But is there a cost to us eating extra large portions?  Increased cholesterol?  Diminished health?  Diabetes?  Heart attacks?  There IS a cost.

So how can you still get value while minimizing the cost to your health on the back end?

  • Split your entree with someone 
  • Eat only half and then have your server box the rest (lunch for tomorrow – sweet!)
  • If you don’t trust yourself to stop voluntarily at half, ask your server box 1/2 of it BEFORE they bring it out to the table
Other ways to eat the appropriate amount of food at restaurants:
  • Ask your server to leave some food off your plate – either ask for smaller portions or skip a side
  • Skip the bread or chips brought out to the table.  Either don’t eat them or ask the server not to bring them in the first place if it will be too much of a temptation. 
  • Skip some of the add-ons like cheese, sour cream, guacamole, butter or salad dressings.  
  • Ask for your add-ons on the side so you can control how much goes on your plate.
  • Some restaurants offer Senior Citizen size portions – I’ve never had a server turn me down from ordering one.
  • Focus on the relaxing, social aspect of eating at a restaurant and not so much on the food.  How engaged can you be with your meal companions when you feel like you’re about to burst?
  • Order without looking at the menu:  if they have grilled chicken breasts, steamed vegetables and pasta or rice, they can put them on a plate for you!
I’m going to caution you from having an “entree” from the appetizer menu or the children’s menu.  Most appetizers are really high in fat:  cheeses, sour creams, fried this and fried that.  As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the kids menu is typically a list of fried and high fat foods as well.

 

Restaurants DO offer healthy foods and can cook them in healthy ways.  All you have to do is ask.  It’s a service industry, and they are there to service you.  Instead of thinking it’s impossible to eat healthy if you have to eat in restaurants on a regular basis, change your way of thinking:  YOU HAVE YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHEF WHO WILL COOK YOU ANYTHING YOU WANT IN THE AMOUNT YOU WANT, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO GO TO THE GROCERY STORE AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN UP!  What could be better? 

….maybe if you also had your own personal massage therapist?