Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Eating Wise at Restaurants

Each month I receive an e-newsletter from a gym I used to go to (through their outdoor boot camp). I really like the practical advice (mostly about eating and exercise) that they give in their articles. This month's topic is eating at restaurants, and making healthy decisions!

Sometimes choosing from a restaurant menu can be overwhelming and it's nice to have some guidance points. Read below for some great tips on drinks, appetizers, entrees, etc. Also, they've added in some extra points, including a yummy Protein Pumpkin Pancakes recipe!

Best Takeaway Point:

"It is said that 80% of your weight loss results are derived from diet, and the remaining 20% from exercise—so you can see how important it is for you to stick with a healthy eating plan."


1. What do you REALLY want to Eat?
Think about what you really want to eat before you order, and order what you want within reason. If you're not craving a salad, don't get a salad! If you're craving pasta, get pasta - but you've got to practice portion control and stop eating when you are full. I am a huge fan of ordering what I want and eating just HALF of my entree and saving the other half for lunch the next day (calorie and cost effective!). As long as you exercise portion control and remember to get in all the necessary food groups and nutrients on a regular basis, you should be good to go.

2. How HUNGRY are you...really?
Listen to your body. I often get into situations where I go out to eat but I'm not very hungry and I feel like I "should" order an entree because everyone else is. That is no excuse. If you are not truly hungry, it's a waste of calories and $ to order something because you "should." You won't feel satisfied in the end and you'll regret making certain decisions. It's okay to get a couple "small plates" or a cup of soup + a side salad (my favorite "small meal") or share an entree with a friend! By doing this you often get more variety, too!

3. Stick to the Basics
Of course, try not to get into a habit of OD-ing on carbs and sugar (along with high fat meals) every time you go out. Maybe one meal you'll get a pasta dish and the next time fish with veges. Also watch out for salt - it's amazing how much salt restaurants add to their food. If you always feel like you need to add salt to your food at a restaurant, you most likely do not need to - you CAN "retrain" your taste buds to using less.

Note: I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer, but these methods have worked for me very well in the past few years, hands down!
Seattle Boot Camp
Your Guide to Eating Out Right

A woman sits at a restaurant studying the menu with furrowed brow. She has begun an exercise routine and knows that her frequent meals out could slow her weight loss results if she wasn't careful.

When the waiter comes she is still deep in thought over what to order. "What can I get for you?” he asks with a smile. She looks up and frowns, no closer to arriving at a decision. On a whim she blurts out, "I'm trying to eat healthy but I have no idea what to order. What do you think I should eat?”

The young waiter looks startled but quickly rattles off his idea of a healthy meal. "The eggplant and roasted pepper pasta is filled with vegetables. You could get that with a salad.”

The woman smiles. Yes, vegetables do sound healthy. So she orders the veggie pasta with a side salad and a diet soda, then sits back to enjoy a few slices of bread.

That's a true story. Not surprisingly the woman was unable to lose weight even though she was exercising regularly.

It is said that 80% of your weight loss results are derived from diet, and the remaining 20% from exercise—so you can see how important it is for you to stick with a healthy eating plan.

Use the following tips as your guide to eating out right:

Appetizers are a great way to start out a leisurely meal, but can also derail your good intentions with a quickness.

Don't Order

  • Anything fried. Fried foods are a favorite, but will do damage that even the most intense workout won't undo.
  • Creamy dips. These are filled with fat and usually come with something fried to dip in it.
  • Bread. It comes smothered in cheese or seeped in butter, and even when it's plain it fills you up with more carbohydrates than your body needs.

Do Order

  • Green salad. Ask for very light dressing and no croutons.
  • Antipasto. A plate of thinly sliced meats, olives and cheese will start you off with some protein.
  • Lettuce wraps. These are delicious, protein-filled and low in carbs.

Calories in drinks are sneaky because they don't fill you up. This means that you end up taking in far more calories than you bargained for.

Don't Order

  • Regular or diet soda. On one hand you're drinking corn syrup through a straw, on the other you're drinking chemicals that cause you to crave sweets. It's a no win situation.
  • Sweet cocktails. Many restaurants are advertizing sweet cocktails –resist the urge. Sugar plus alcohol equals loads of unneeded calories.
  • Sweetened tea. You may feel righteous for ordering iced tea, but if it's sweetened then you may as well be drinking fully loaded soda.

Do Order

  • Water. Don't laugh! Water is the best beverage of all.
  • Unsweetened iced tea. Don't ruin it by adding that packet of sugar. Learn to enjoy the natural sweetness to the tea.
  • Red wine. Stick to one glass, and drink responsibly.

This is where the real damage is done. When you order something carb-loaded you leave the restaurant feeling heavy and lethargic—you may not even realize this until you start eating better and experience the light, energetic way you'll feel after eating a healthy meal.

Don't Order

  • Pasta. I don't care if it comes with red sauce or white sauce, meat or veggies. If you're trying to lose weight and maintain a lean body then never, ever order a plate of pasta.
  • Pizza. Another dish that has far more carbohydrates than you need. If you're craving the pizza toppings then simply order those over a salad.
  • Burgers. If you really want a burger then ditch the bun and the fries, and have your patty wrapped in lettuce.

Do Order:

  • Lean meat with vegetables. Fish, steak, chicken, take your pick and pair it with green vegetables.
  • Salad with protein. Ask for very light dressing and make sure you have a nice piece of protein on it.
  • Soup and salad. Stick with broth based soups that contain protein and pass on the breadsticks.

If you want to expedite your results then consider working with me on a fitness plan that will turn you into a fat burning machine.

Call or email today—I look forward to hearing from you.

Focus on the New Additions

So you've decided to ditch your old eating habits and to embrace a new diet of lean proteins and lots of veggies. You know that your new eating strategy will lead to many pounds lost…but you can't get your old favorite foods out of your mind.

Watch out!

When you spend time dwelling on the burgers and pizzas that you loved, you're setting yourself up for a relapse.

The best way to stick with your new healthy eating habits is to focus on all the new foods that you now enjoy. Get a new cookbook or visit websites that present new and tasty ways to prepare healthy food.

Find new favorite foods to love – foods that are healthy and guilt free.

Protein Pumpkin Pancakes

Enjoy these tasty pumpkin pancakes without guilt. Made with almond meal and packed with protein from eggs, these pancakes are sure to satisfy without shortchanging your results.
Servings: 5

Here's what you need…

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • cooking spray
  1. In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients together.
  2. Heat pancake griddle to medium heat and coat with cooking spray.
  3. Cook each side about 3 minutes until brown, then flip and cook remaining side.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 255 calories, 15g fat, 112mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, and 19g protein.

Spread the word. Forward this newsletter to your friends, family and co-workers by using the "refer a friend” link below.

John Verd

Seattle Boot Camp

23101 56th Ave W
Mountlake Terrace WA, 98043

(855) FIT-CAMP

Visit My Website

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