Everyone likes to go out to eat; who doesn't? Whether its breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it's usually fun and very relaxing to sit down, be waited on, and enjoy something tasty.
However, if you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and let's be honest here, LOSE WEIGHT; you have to keep track of everything you eat. Otherwise you're looking at a HUGE set back (usually) on your nutrition tracker and the subsequent NON-weight loss; the dreaded WEIGH-IN GAIN!!!!
A little simple planning before you go and you can sit, relax, and truly enjoy yourself. Most chain restaurants have their nutritional menu guides posted on their websites. Here are links to a couple of very popular chain restaurants nutritional menu guides . . .
Ruby Tuesday - www.rubytuesday.com/asse
Five Guys, Burgers & Fries - www.fiveguys.net/files/f
Keep in mind to read any fine print that may be on these guides . . . sometimes the entire meal at Ruby Tuesday is included in the overall calorie, fat, fiber, & sodium count (unfortunately, RT doesn't include PROTEIN on their nutritional counts) and their appetizer listing is PER SERVING which is 4 servings per appetizer . . . the fries at 5 Guys is per serving which is "about 1/2 of a regular order." Anyone that has been to 5 guys knows that a regular order of fries is HUGE and never the same size, so you must go on the high side when you add this to your nutrition tracker, that is if you are eating a whole 1/2 a “regular order” of fries there. You can always eat 1/2 the fries that will actually fit into the regular order cup, this will keep you on the lower side and you will still have plenty of fries to enjoy!
Additionally, ALWAYS ask for food unsalted at any restaurant you go to. That way you control (somewhat) the amount of sodium that is present in your food. I always take my Mrs. Dash Table Blend with me. This particular seasoning is especially good on veggies, potatoes, and rice. If at 5 guys you get the fries, use the malt vinegar that is usually available rather than salt and ketchup. This is an excellent alternative to ketchup (which is loaded with sodium and the dreaded HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP).
With regard to Ruby Tuesday, I was SHOCKED at the SODIUM LEVELS in all of their food. Yes, RT's has some [what would be considered] "LOW CAL/LOW FAT" meals, BUT (THE BIG BUT!!) is the sodium content. The item with the least amount of sodium is a PLAIN BAKED POTATO with 113 mgs of Sodium. If you ask for a PLAIN BAKED POTATO - UNSALTED since they salt the skins (with butter and sour cream on the side) and PLAIN (STEAMED & UNSALTED) SUGAR SNAP PEAS (use the butter from your potato if you have to have butter on them; they don't need it!) you can cut your sodium from your sides significantly. As far as RT's "FIT & TRIM CHOICES" again, check the entire Nutritional Menu Guide for what works best for you. Just as an example, the Petite Sirloin served with white cheddar mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli has the following listed on their nutritional guide . . . 561 cals, 32 g fat, 6 g fiber, 26 net carbs (32 g prior to deducting the fiber), and get this, a WHOPPING 2033 mgs OF SODIUM!!!!! That is nearly the recommended daily intake of sodium for an entire day for most people; FOR ONE MEAL!!!!
So, all I'm sayin' is, use the Nutritional Menu Guides available on most restaurant websites and PLAN YOUR MEAL BEFORE YOU GO so you won't go too far over your daily limits you have set for yourself.
It is possible to go out to eat and enjoy yourself, but, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!!!