As of the first of the year, I got sorta-kinda-but-not-really-yet-in-a-way promoted. My company did a reorganization of my department, and while my paycheck still looks the same, I took on a whole heck of a lot more responsibility and stress.
Nearly two months in, I’m sort of regaining my stride (sort of), but something new has popped up that is so crazy.
I’m entertaining customers over meals on most days! Last week alone, I had three meals at fabulous restaurants in town (Denver folks: The Rio, Pappadeaux, and Jason’s Deli.) Now, the foodie in me gets excited, but that girl who just re-committed to weight loss freaks out a little…
All I REALLY want to do is to be left alone to my Jenny lunches and my pre-planned snacks. That would be so much easier… but I can’t really take my food to the restaurant and not eating with the client would be just plain awkward.
So, I’ve been learning to work with it… and I thought I’d share a few tips I’m come up with.
Check out the Menu Ahead of Time
I am notorious for this. When I get an invite to dinner/lunch, I always go online and see what the options look like. Most chain restaurants will even have a nutrition guide posted, which I’ll reference when making my choices.
I can always find SOMETHING to eat.
Also, the trick about reviewing the menu and choosing your meal ahead of time is that you will not get distracted by the menu when it’s crunch time. For me, I also walk into the restaurant completely confident about what I’m eating and that I’m staying on track… which assures I’m going to enjoy my night.
Don’t be Afraid to Customize Your Meal
I used to be a little hesitant to ask for special requests with my meals. I never like to draw attention to my strange order, but at this point… I just don’t care anymore. I like my food my way (after all, I’m Sally Albright), and there are so many people that are ordering even stranger meals than I do…
Be clear and specific about what you want. Break it down for the server clearly, and thank them profusely for building your salad just the way you want it.
Example of a recent order: At Pappadeaux this week, I ordered the Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken (no breading), instead of fried, no cheese, no croutons, no bacon, no egg. Add extra tomatoes and cucumbers, with a light vinaigrette on the side. The server didn’t even flinch, and the order came out perfectly…
NTTC Bonus Tip: Scan the other salads for extra veggies you want to add to your salad. I always do this!
Pre-Party with Your Own Appetizer
Load up on a healthy snack before you head to your event. Most times, I choose vegetables because they’re incredibly filling and low-calorie. Example: Here is the snack I ate before I went to a work dinner this week.
These vegetables with my Roasted Red Pepper Dip filled me up nicely before I arrived at the restaurant. This helped me to ignore the bread on the table and to say “No Thanks” to the appetizers that were passed around the table. #NTTA
Plan for an On-Track Day for All Your Other Meals
You may have one meal that is a little in-flux, but the remaining two and all the snacks you eat throughout the day should be on point. I find this easy to do by using my Jenny foods. I’ll write down exactly what I intend to eat for the planned meals, and then pick my restaurant choice based upon balancing out the rest of my day. Example: If my day is carb heavy, maybe that meal out needs to be carb-free.
Regardless, make a plan for the entire day… and stick to it!
Watch Your Liquid Calories
With socializing, there is often alcohol present. As you talk and laugh throughout the night, you may lose count of how many glasses of wine you have or mixed drinks you down. Set a target for what you will consume while you’re out before you walk into the restaurant. Maybe it’s one glass of wine, and if so, consider pairing it with your meal for the most enjoyment.
Wet your whistle the remainder of the night with water, and lots of it. This will help you stay hydrated, avoid ordering more vodka, and keep you satisfied.
Enjoy Your Time
Your friends, family, and co-worker want to visit with you and enjoy time with you. They are not watching what you are eating like you are. Relax, create your plan, and enjoy your night.
What other tips do you have for staying on track while dining out?