Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tip: Restaurant Strategies

This weekend I expect to eat two or three meals at restaurants. I've been making good progress with my diet, so I don't want to break my diet. I need to come up with an eating strategy that will allow me to enjoy the food while still aiming for a meal made of 40% carb, 30% protein, 30% fat. Here's my strategy:

1. If the meal is likely to be forgetable, and no one will notice if you don't eat consider a preemptive strike and eat your meal before or after you go out. I'm attending a workshop on Saturday morning where breakfast will be served. I know from past experience that breakfast will be a buffet that guests are expected to partake in before the seminar begins. I'm happy with my usual breakfast--I know I'm not missing anything by skipping a hotel meal--so I'll eat breakfast at home before heading to the event. That's one more meal which is thoroughly within my control, giving me a little more flexibility for the other meal that I'll eat at restaurants this weekend.

2. For my restaurant meals, I'm looking for a low-fat protein-focused entree. In other words, I'm avoiding anything that centers around pasta, rice or other starches. I need to add two large servings of veggies, preferably steamed, that are low on the glycemic scale. I want to make sure I have some fat, so I'll get a salad with the dressing on the side (so I can control the amount of dressing I eat).

3. I'm going to check out the restaurant's menu before I go, so I can do some preemptive planning. It's never fun to spend 20 minutes staring at a menu, mentally calculating carbs and protein and fat counts. The restaurant I'm going to on Saturday has a soup made with cucumbers (low carb, low on the glycemic scale), avocado (a good fat) and trout (protein). I also see a salad with balsamic vinegar-olive oil vinagrette (low carb, low on the glycemic scale with a healthy fat). Plus, they have two fish dishes (good sources of lean protein). In fact, my biggest challenge will be finding some good sources of carbs. I see a lot of noodles, breads, and high-glycemic vegetables such as beets, corn and potatoes. Wait! There's a salad of watermelon (medium-level on the glycemic scale) and fennel (which I think is low) with a yogurt dressing. Bingo!

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