Here are some ‘little things’ you can do every time you eat out – and rack up plenty of calorie savings in the process.
Smart ordering tip 1 – spoil your dinner
One frequent problem with restaurant dining is that it takes time to get seated, look over the menu and place your order – and by the time your meal arrives you’re starving. That’s why many restaurants pop down a basket of bread and butter or some tortilla chips and salsa to tide you over. So, spoil your dinner a little bit – have a piece of fruit, a few bites of cottage cheese or yogurt or a small handful of nuts before you go – and turn down the bread and the chips which can add hundreds of calories to your meal before you’ve dug into your first course.
Calories you could save: 150 (1 slice bread + butter) to 500 (basket of chips)
Smart ordering tip 2 – the water’s fine
Cocktails, wine, soda, and sweet beverages like lemonade don’t fill you up, but they can sure fill you out. And, in the case of soda, free refills are often the norm, and that could mean hundreds of extra calories. Instead, ask for unsweetened iced tea, plain water or mineral water with a slice of lemon.
Calories you could save: 100 (glass of wine) to 400 (large soda + 1 refill)
Smart ordering tip 3 – skinny dip
Starting your meal with a salad is a great habit to get into – as long as the salad isn’t loaded down with fatty ingredients and heavy dressing. Opt for plenty of greens with an oil and vinegar dressing – served on the side – and ‘do the dip’. Dip your fork in the dressing, then pick up some greens with your fork. You’ll get a little taste of dressing with each bite, but you’ll use far less.
Calories you could save: 200+ (75 calories per tablespoon – most restaurants add about 4 tablespoons of dressing to the typical dinner salad)
Smart ordering tip 4 - go fish
Most of my clients know they should eat more fish, but they don’t cook it at home – either because they don’t know how to cook it properly, or they say it makes the house stink….two good reasons why it’s a good choice when you go out. There’s another good reason, too. As long as it’s grilled and broiled – rather than deep fried – fish has a lot fewer calories than an equivalent serving of red meat.
Calories you could save: 200 (4 ounces grilled fish vs. 4 ounces broiled steak)
Smart ordering tip 5 – take the first crack
If you’re dining with a group, try to order before everyone else does. If you’ve planned ahead, and have a pretty good idea of what you want to eat, it’s a lot easier to stick with your agenda if you place your order first - before you get swayed by everyone else’s choices. When dessert time rolls around, you can ask for fresh fruit or coffee before you even peek at the menu – and before everyone else orders pastry.
Calories you could save: 300 (piece of layer cake) to 1000 (piece of cheesecake)
Smart ordering tip 6 – do the splits
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating – restaurant portions can be huge. Split an entrée with a dining companion and order an extra side of veggies, or have your leftovers packed up as soon as you’ve eaten your portion. Those in the restaurant business know that customers want value – in other words, they want big portions at a reasonable price. And since it costs the restaurant much less to buy the food than it does to cook and serve it to you, most places are more than happy to super-size portions. They may be able to afford to “pile it on” – but can you?
Calories you could save: Hundreds. Restaurant entrees can easily run 800-1000 calories.
Creamy Egg Salad
Most recipes for egg salad call for fat-filled mayonnaise, but this recipe uses fat free Greek yogurt instead. You get all the creaminess without added calories to set back your results.
Here's what you need...
- 8 organic, free range eggs
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons onion greens, chopped
- 1/4 cup non fat Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons champagne mustard
- 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon
- dash of salt and pepper
- To boil the perfect egg: place eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water by half an inch. Heat the water to a boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Wait exactly 7 minutes, and then place the eggs in a bowl of ice water for 3 minutes.
- Peel and chop hard boiled eggs, discarding 4 yolks. Place in a large bowl. Add celery, onion greens, yogurt, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Chill and then serve.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 148 calories, 7 fat, 212mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, and 16g protein.