Skinny Tips for Eating Out
With the warm weather starting to emerge, every city girl is ready to sport her new summer dress, strappy sandals, and hit the town with her friends. Even throughout the year, friends always want to catch up over dinner or drinks. Unfortunately, being social and trying to stay slim and healthy doesn’t always come hand-in-hand. You should be able to go out with your friends and enjoy a night on the town without derailing all of your healthy efforts. Here are some smart, quick and easy tips to keep in mind while going out with friends. This post is written by Stefanie Pappas, nutrition student at Penn State.
Preparation is Key
Feeling prepared will always give you an extra sense of comfort and confidence. If you know what restaurant you will be going to, take a quick look at the menu online before you go. You can sort out the healthy options by yourself when you are in a focused state of mind. Also, make sure to eat a small snack before you go out if you feel extremely hungry; the last thing you want is to show up at the restaurant feeling ravenous and then overeat.
I like to recommend vegan restaurants to my friends as an option. Typically, most vegan restaurants usually have more healthier and low-calorie options as opposed to other restaurants. Plus, it is amazing to see how vegan chefs can be so creative with wholesome vegetables. There are great organic, all-natural restaurants in the city that also provide delicious, fresh, and healthy food. Whenever you can, speak up and suggest those healthier restaurants that have more nutritious selections. Some of my favorite healthy restaurants in NYC include Candle 79, Spring Street Natural, and Angelica’s Kitchen. But if you are trying to watch your weight, keep in mind that vegan cuisine can be carb heavy. Make sure that you order side dishes of vegetables.
Don’t Be Shy
If all of your friends order unhealthy dishes, it is certainly tempting to give in to the “status quo.” People tend to eat the same amount as people around them. Take charge and be assertive by ordering first; you’ll set the stage for a healthy meal and will be less likely to be influenced by everyone else’s choices.
It’s Okay To Be Picky
Some of my friends love to order a bunch of different appetizers and entrees for the table, allowing us all to taste a variety of items from the menu. However, when all of that food is sitting right in front of you, it can be easy to overeat. Don’t be afraid to be picky in these situations. Choose a few things you would like to try, make yourself a plate, and take the time enjoying each bite. You don’t have to try everything just because it is right in front of you. Pick those few items that you are most excited about, and savor the amazing flavors.
Play With Appetizers
The menu might look absolutely delectable and you might not be able to limit yourself to just one dish. Instead, try ordering two small dishes or appetizers to add some variety to your meal. This can be a great option and allow you to embrace your inner foodie.
If you have both hands free the entire night, you’re likely to eat and drink more. Carry a clutch or something to keep your hands occupied, and focus on mingling with your friends and meeting new people. Suggest that you and your friends hit the High Line for a nice walk, or go dancing to stay active and burn some calories from the evening.
Grabbing drinks with co-workers or friends is fun and easy, but can definitely pack on the calories. When it comes to alcohol, the clearer the better. Vodka, gin, clear tequila and light beer are a bit easier on your stomach as compared to rum, whiskey, bourbon, or dark tequila. Stick to one drink if you can, as mixing liquors is very hard on your stomach and your head. I like to water down my drinks with seltzer, which helps cut calories and is a much healthier option as opposed to adding soda or sugary fruit mixes to your drinks. Squeeze fresh lemon or lime into your drink to add a citrusy flavor burst. Pace yourself, sip slowly, and try to drink water throughout the night if you can in between drinks.
Remember, no one is perfect. You might find that your willpower is waning and you want to indulge with your friends. When you feel like you are falling into that trap, shift your mindset. Instead of focusing on what you might lose from not indulging, think about what you’ll gain- a sense of pride and confidence in your ability to make healthy choices and stay on track. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be sure to enjoy a great night out with friends and feel confident and in control as well.
Stefani Pappas is a college student majoring in Nutritional Sciences at Penn State and hopes to become a Registered Dietitian. As a Certified Indoor Cycling Instructor, Stefani is dedicated to leading a healthy and active lifestyle, and inspiring others to do the same. Follow her on Twitter @stefhealthtips for more nutrition and fitness tips!
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.