I find that if I am going to go out to a restaurant, I make it rare, and go to a "fancy" restaurant. Make it an event. Usually the portions are /12 to 1/3 the size of a family restaurant. I skip the soups, and drink just water. They tend to have coarser bread that tastes better, and is healthier. Skip desserts.
My last time I went out, I went to a cheaper restaurant.. Macaroni Grill, and had chicken and wild mushroom cannelloni. I am sure it was bad, but if I didn't have the rules set up beforehand, I would have had creamy soup, instead of a ceasar side salad, and drank pop, and had a decadent dessert.
At a local diner, I can eat 1/2 the platter, and still be high in every category.. they feed 3-4 servings to you for $8. I feel weird walking out with 2/3 to 1/2 of my food. Of course, if it is with your significant other, you could split a dish.
There are great "dining out" guides on this site...look them up!
Here's tricks I use:
1. Plan ahead. If you know where you are going, look up the menu and figure out in advance what you are going to have. (I'm going out tonight and plan to order the tuna burger, mayo on the side and greenbeans)
2. Take a picture of your dinner before and after you eat it. That way, even if you are estimating, you will have some frame of reference for recording your meal
3. Eyeball portions. A portion of protein is a deck of cards. A portion of carbs is a baseball. Use these references to estimate.
4. Or go hardcore and bring a scale to weigh stuff at the table.
Or stop going out to eat.
Look at what is behind your going out to eat and make a plan to overcome it! (If you need help making a plan, post your reasons back here as a question and I promise a whole bunch of sparkies will help you plan!)
I love dining out too, believe me. But what is it you guys like so much about it? Is it just being out together? It can't be the spending money part ha, is it the food? If it's the food, why not try and recreate the dishes at home. You can control every ingredient that goes into the dish, and it's certainly much more inexpensive. While I do miss being OUT in a restaurant, I've become quite handy in the kitchen. So unless you're eating gormet, crazy entrees that only professional chefs could possibly make, you can do it at home! And it'd be so fun to cook together. But if you do go out, as others said, you need to track. Even if it's just the bare essentials like chicken breast, mashed potatoes, broccoli, 2 slices of bread with butter, etc. SOMEthing needs to be tracked.
YOu need to track as honestly as you can. When you go out to eat bring a little notebook with you and write down everything you ingest. Down to the three bites you tried from his entree the black tie mousse cake that you split. :) Remember....just because it's not fast food doesn't mean it's healthy food. STAY FOCUSED!!!!
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You can go out to eat, but the trick is to plan ahead. It IS easier to eat healthy and track at home, but you can still go to the restaurants you love if you plan. If it's a chain, you can find the info online. It gets trickier if not, because you have to guess what's in it. I've found that asking now and again helps. I asked at a local restaurant how much chicken they include in my favorite dish, and that gives me a starting point.
My husband and I have been eating dinner out a lot these days. It is totally throwing me off. Sometimes I find it hard to track some things that I eat. So then I just don't track. It's messing me up. I just need to stop going out to eat. (We don't get fast food.)
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