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Lessons learned about making the healthy choice when having dinner with friends

Monday, January 14, 2013

I went out for dinner on Saturday night with some friends. We had picked the restaurants a couple of days ahead so I had time to check out the nutritional guide they have posted on their web site. I like to have a couple of healthy choices in mind to choose from before I go cause you just never know what you are in the mood for when you sit down to order. After reading the nutritional guide I had three choices in mind: Salmon (310 cal), Steak (410 cal) and Ravioli (490 cal). The Salmon and Steak is served with steamed veggies and a small salad; the sides were included in the calorie count. The 490 calories for Ravioli was listed without tomato sauce. So if you wanted tomato sauce you would need to add 90 cals , making the Ravioli 580 cals. The Ravioli was not the best choice but it was okay… or at least I thought.

When we sat down at the restaurant to order on Saturday night I looked at the menu and read over the three choices I had previously made… then I started thinking about what will my friends with think about what I choose. I know that sounds silly, but they were obviously not thinking about their calorie intake, and I did not want to be …Hey, look at me I’m on a diet!! I wanted to order the Salmon but they were all ordering pasta and huge burgers. So I opted for the Ravioli with the sauce.

As I said previously I thought that would be an okay choice at 580 calories. When my meal came out it was obvious to me that there was no way this dish could be 580 calories.. The amount of cheese covering the ravioli must of added 300 calories to the dish. After a closer look at the nutritional guide the calorie count for this dish was listed without cheese!! Why do restaurants do that... the waitress never asked if I wanted cheese. If the cheese is a part of the dish then it should be included in the calorie count.

Lessons learned……Next time I will read the nutritional guide a little closer!! And I will not be so concerned about what my friends think! After sharing an appetizer, having a couple drinks and ordering the Ravioli my dinner total was well over 1300 calories.

Anyone else have these issues when eating out?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • AMBER281
    I find eating out a HUGE challenge. With nutrition guides avaliable for most places now its better. I agree with you that nutrition guides so have the full calories based on how its prepared and not each individual item
    1957 days ago
    eating out is a HUGE CHALLENGE! I do best if I think about it ahead of time and set my mind to what I will eat or not eat. Take care of yourself and your goals! Your friends can take care of there issues. They may work a different plan and cut back in different places than you do or exercise more... we are all different! You have done GREAT!
    1981 days ago
    That always happens to me! I will order something at Applebee's that I looked up to be around 600 cals. Then I noticed it says this is without cheese, without sauce..etc...

    I wish restaurants would just post the calorie count of the dishes how they actually make them!

    Also, I always think about how my friends will perceive my order,too. I don't know why but I do...
    1987 days ago
  • DEBBY4576
    I'm a bore. I don't like eating out. I know with careful planning it can be done though. You really tried girl!!! And thanks for posting about this so if and when I do eat out I can be forwarned.
    1987 days ago
    Yes! It's a huge problem and so frustrating! There are times my husband and I go out and he just orders for example, the steak and I order off the "lite" menu and his meal looks healthier than mine in spite of what the menu said! And I agree with Scubanutt, I don't worry about what anyone else thinks when I order, they're so busy deciding what they want they don't even notice what I'm doing. Ah well, lesson learned, you'll know better next time! emoticon
    1987 days ago
    I find that people don't notice that I'm ordering off the low-cal menu, unless I have to say "I'll take the light salmon", or something along those lines. It seems like now the reduced calorie entrees don't have names that give them away. So, I would just order what you've chosen, and don't make an issue of it; I bet no one else will even notice. Good for you, for taking those steps... and 'boo' to the restaurant, for torpedoing your efforts! Do they really need to make it any harder, to eat healthy when you go out?
    1987 days ago
    I think another aspect of eating out that is problematic is that you never really know what they add to sauces etc. There can be all sorts of salt and sugar in things. When we cook our own food we know exactly what we put in it. I try now not to go out too much but when I do, I know perhaps I will go a bit off track even if I don't intend to. I try to stick to fish and lean meats and order extra veggies instead of starches. I avoid the bread basket. I usually look at the menu online but don't always find they have calorie counts. I just try to use my experience to make good choices. You know, I wouldn't worry what your friends think about what you order. I go out with a Ladies Who Dine group and they order all sorts of fattening stuff and find they never even notice what I order because they are too busy enjoying chowing down on their own meals. emoticon
    1987 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    I also check things out when I go out to eat, and yes, don't be concerned about what your friends think, healthier choices are better in the long run. I would have taken the cheese off, or maybe eaten half and taken the other half home.. emoticon

    1987 days ago
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