One of the first obstacles I hear from clients trying to stick to their weight loss goals is while dining out on the weekends.
Knowing how to navigate a menu can help you from veering off track. The following are some suggestions and common menu items to keep you trucking along toward your goal.
Breakfast is on of the easiest meals to eat out because everyone is always serving up eggs. If you’re going to a buffet however, be aware of the pastries. They are loaded with simple sugars which is not always a great way to start off your day.
If you usually eat your breakfast going through the drive-through, STOP. There are plenty of healthy, portable items such as balanced nutrition bars or shakes in many convenience stores.
• Veggie-egg white omelet and 1 piece of multi-grain toast
• 2 poached eggs and 1 cup of cooked oatmeal
• 1 cup of melon and 1 cup of cottage cheese
• ½ multi-grain bagel with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter and 1 cup of cottage cheese
• ½ grapefruit and 2 eggs, sunny-side up, with 1 piece of multi-grain toast
Ordering salads: Salads are always an excellent choice for lunch, but know what is in them. Don’t be afraid to modify.
If you know they will have too many croutons, ask for only a few or none at all. Opt for mixed greens, romaine or spinach lettuce, and not iceberg.
When ordering dressings, ask for a light one, not a non-fat dressing. Non-fat dressings have a lot of sugar and salt in them to compensate for lack of taste. Order your dressing on the side.
You can also cut the dressing with vinegar or Dijon mustard. It is delicious.
If your salad comes with breadsticks ask them not to bring them. Load up on extra veggies instead. Make sure your salad has some sort of protein in it like chicken or fish.
Ordering soups: Ask how the soup is prepared. Actually, that goes for everything. Remember, you’re paying for it. Many soups are loaded with sodium, so be careful.
Stay away from cream-based soups. Opt for vegetable-based soups instead with lots of protein such as chicken or beef. Stay away from soups that are strictly starch-related such as potato, pasta or white rice based.
• Salad with grilled chicken or fish
• ½ tuna sandwich with light mayonnaise and 1 cup of soup
• Small turkey wrap with side salad
• Chicken or turkey on small pita with side salad
Start with a protein-based entrée such as grilled or poached fish, a nice piece of chicken or steak, and build around that. Ask for a steamed vegetable, not buttered or battered.
Most entrees come with a baked potato, but watch the portion. Order a baked sweet potato instead if you can.
Be careful what you put on that potato. Lay off sour creams, butter, and cheeses. Instead drizzle some light salad dressing on it. You can even top it with cottage cheese.
Stay away from a lot of white rice. You may want to ask for brown rice or double vegetables instead.
• Poached salmon and asparagus
• Grilled chicken and steamed broccoli
• Broiled steak and green beans
• Roasted turkey and steamed spinach
So tempting, aren’t they? But they can mean a lot of unwanted calories.
Opt for choices like grilled veggies or grilled calamari. Stay away from anything battered, fried or creamy.
Fresh fruit and sorbet are your best bets. If you’re going to get something decadent, share it.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a certified personal trainer and sport nutritionist. She is certified in Pilates, pre-natal/post-partum, yoga and senior fitness. She specializes in weight loss, post-rehab and post-cancer training.