Meal Planning for Eating Out
Seems kind of counter intuitive, why would you plan a meal if you are going to eat out? Read on and it will all make sense soon I promise! Lunch yesterday was one of the best I’ve had in a while, tilapia with acorn squash and broccoli. This was the first time I’ve ever had acorn squash…it was soaked in some sort of sweet brown sugar sauce so of course I loved it! 😉
For Part One of “Meal Planning for Eating Out” I wanted to let you in on my lunchtime meal planning process. I start by looking up the menu Monday morning when it comes out. I do this for a couple reasons. First, so I am armed with a couple of healthy choices and don’t end up with ice cream, carrot cake, or chicken wings every day (because its bound to happen some days). Second, because we only have a limited time for lunch (30 minutes) it helps me decide faster. (Although some days it still takes me forever… I like to assess all my options!) I usually print it out and stick it in my lab coat. What I highlight is usually something I’ve had before and really liked, what I underline or star are other good options.
“Ex” Roommies Birthdays Dinner
Last night I met my two “ex” roommies in Palm Springs to celebrate their birthdays over dinner! We went to Grind Burger Bar and I definitely can’t say I’ve eaten anywhere in the Cali desert yet that I didn’t like… it was so delicious!
Man I miss living with these girls! Our dinner turned into a three hour long catch up session, I had so much fun with them I definitely miss seeing them every day!
Anyways, I also look up the menu before I eat out if I can. Before we went, they sent out the menu to me (dietitian friends ha ha) with links to Yelp. My friend (and future dietitian) Amy likes to look at the menu and yelp so she can try what the restaurant is famous for. I like to look at it so I can pick something not necessarily super healthy, but not heart attack status either. I find that with birthdays (except my own) and many “special occasions” around every corner (at least one holiday excuse per month) it isn’t a good idea for me to throw calories completely out the window EVERY time I eat out. Personally I like to get things I couldn’t or wouldn’t make for myself at home (which right now is pretty much everything), that way it is worth paying to eat out! However, I still do the following things to help keep the meal in check:
– ask for the dressings & condiments on the side
– chose grilled meats/fish over breaded
– avoid deep fried food on my plate (appetizers are fair game)… tonight we had onion rings and famous french fries (garlic and sweet potato)….
– drink water with my meal, even if I’m having an adult beverage too
– stop eating when I am full and take the yummy leftovers home
– ask if they have a whole grain option for sandwiches or other grains
– enjoy my company and the food equally, meaning pay attention to what your eating and enjoy it but don’t stress about it.. it’s just one meal.
I started off with a skinny bull, which was basically a skinny margarita with sugar free red bull.
I KNEW when I looked at the menu the first time that I wanted a Coachella Valley Salad. I <3 Dates and Goat Cheese like crazy! Since it was a burger bar I also wanted to try a "famous" burger, so I topped my salad with a turkey burger patty. The meal was amazing!
So there you have it, that’s how I meal plan for eating out. See more posts with tips on eating out:
Birthday Dinner and the 80/20 Rule
Quesiton of the Day:
Do you plan your meals when you eat out?
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