Friday, September 11, 2009

Managing Restaurants: From Breadbaskets to Dessert

In a perfect world we'd walk into any restaurant, they would only serve healthy food, made to order with manageable portion sizes and the Points values marked on the menu!! Wouldn't that be terrific?

Learning to eat out is something we really need to do for long term weight management. Some of us may even dread going out at all!
We all know the challenges out eating out. Huge portions, breadbaskets, not knowing all the ingredients in a dish, not knowing how a food is cooked, a wide array of tempting desserts, buffets, and so on and so on. Many challenges.

First off, if you have the Weight Watchers Dining Out book read the first 60+ pages. It is chock full of wonderful tips and hints for staying on plan while eating out.

What is SetPoints? A way to eat out without as much stress. Certain foods have a Setpoint value. You eat a reasonable portion and use the Setpoint value in your pocket guide. (In parenthesis) These are a higher point value but at least you won't be underestimating points or having to whip out your measuring cup from your purse! Read more about it in your weekly materials Book 5.

Other strategies for eating out wisely:

  1. Look up Points values of food before you eat them. Go online or check out your Dining Out book to get nutritional info or points values. Use the restaurant guide on eTools. Know what words on the menu mean healthier choices: baked, boiled,broiled, grilled, poached, roasted and steamed.

  2. Choose Filling Foods first. Have a salad without high calorie dressing or a broth or tomato based soup before your meal.

  3. Follow the Good Health Guidelines. Ask for water right away. Make sure to get fruit or veggies with your meal.

  4. Use your Weekly Points allowance. Knowing you have 35 weekly points should help you navigate the breadbasket, cocktails, or dessert.

  5. Keep track of everything you eat and drink. Knowing you will be writing it down should help keep you in check. How about writing it down while waiting for your food.

  6. Pay attention to portion sizes. How about asking for a to-go box when you order. It's been my experience they won't bring it with your food. Remind them that you'd like it right away. If you know your meal will have large portions put half of it away to take home for later.

  7. Take note of your body's hunger signals. Eat half of your meal, then stop, rest and access. Think about how you are feeling. We want to be satisfied not stuffed!

"One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation." ~ Arthur Ashe

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