Eating Out with Confidence: Test Your Restaurant Survival Savvy
Just because you’re trying to lose weight doesn’t mean you want to quit socializing, or hide away in your own kitchen forever. But eating out in restaurants can be dangerous. Can you spot and survive the dangers to your diet?
Question 1 of 10
Choose the healthy dinner:
|Won tons, sweet-and-sour pork and an eggroll|
Baked lemon chicken and a side salad
The healthiest way to cook protein is to grill or bake it. The worst? Frying. Fried food is usually dipped in butter or egg, coated in bread crumbs, and steeped in artery-clogging oil for 10 minutes. When you review a restaurant menu, beware of fried-food code words like crispy and crunchy. Some foods like won tons and eggrolls are deep fried, but don't mention it. Before ordering, envision the food on the plate. If it's brown and crackles when you bite it, take a pass and order the grilled or baked items. Not sure how something is prepared? Ask your server.
|Fried chicken strips and French fries|
|Crispy fish and hush puppies|
Question 2 of 10
Choose the healthiest lunch:
|A slice of cheese pizza|
Turkey Rueben on rye
Avoid dishes made with cheese. Restaurants love to cook with cheese because it hides a multitude of culinary sins like overcooked pasta or mid-grade cuts of meat. Plus, that oooey-gooey goodness keeps you coming back for more. Consider this: Just one cup of melted cheddar cheese contains nearly 1000 calories, 72 percent of which are fat calories! Go for the Rueben with fat free turkey, lots of fiber-filled sauerkraut, and some tasty mustard. The entire sandwich is less than 500 calories. Skip the chips on the side and dig into fruit or salad. That's a winning lunch!
|Grilled cheese sandwich and chips|
Question 3 of 10
What is the first thing you should say to your waiter when he arrives?
|What are today’s specials?|
Please remove the bread basket.
Restaurants place bread and tortilla chips on your table to fill you up and to keep you satisfied while they prepare your food. Unfortunately bread, butter, and chips are chock full of refined flours, oils, fat, carbohydrates, and often sugar if the bread has "honey" flavor. It's extremely difficult to sit in front of a warm bread basket without having just a bite … which leads to a whole piece … with butter … and another one. So remove temptation altogether by asking your server to take it back to the kitchen and please bring you that side salad pronto!
|May we have a booth?|
|Can I super-size that?|
Question 4 of 10
What’s the second thing you should ask your server?
Can you please bring a to-go box with our appetizer?
According to a survey of chefs presented at the 2006 meeting of the Obesity Society and quoted in USA Today, most restaurant portions are two to four times larger than the government's dietary recommendations. Recent research by the consumer and retail market research firm NPD Group found that the typical restaurant meal contains 60 percent more calories than an average meal made at home. Since you're basically paying for two meals on one plate, put half of your dinner in a to-go box before you even take a bite. If you wait until the check arrives, you'll be tempted to nibble on it during after-dinner conversation. So just pack away half and enjoy a free dinner tomorrow!
|Can we sit near the fireplace?|
|What dinner do you recommend?|
|Do you take coupons?|
Question 5 of 10
When people eat in restaurants, they underestimate their calorie intake by:
David Zinczecko, co-author of the bestselling Eat This Not That! books, says, "A recent study from the University of Arkansas says a mouthful: The average diner underestimates his or her calorie count by up to 93 percent when eating out. So every time you step through a restaurant door, you may be consuming twice what you bargained for." The solution? Ask for the restaurant's nutritional information sheet before ordering. If they don't have one, be a picky customer and tell the waiter exactly how you'd like your food prepared: grilled, no creamy sauces, no cheese, with steamed vegetables on the side. If you get a salad, get the dressing on the side too.
Question 6 of 10
What is the first item you should eat or drink in a restaurant?
|The chips and salsa on the table|
|The after dinner mint|
Your glass of water
Taking time to drink a full glass of water before eating serves two purposes. First it gives your hands and mouth something to do other than munch on bread sticks or free chips. Second, it fills your stomach and takes the edge off your hunger so you can more enjoy a reasonable portion of healthy food. (And, of course, if you're breastfeeding, more water is essential!
Question 7 of 10
When you can’t tell what menu items are healthy, you should:
Look around the restaurant and emulate the fit folks.
Human beings become overweight because they eat more calories than they expend. So if you look around a restaurant, you will frequently see the heavier people eating burgers and fries or choosing fettuccine Alfredo over grilled salmon. The leaner folks will choose scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast, while the larger patrons are more likely to be seated in front of a stack of pancakes. Try it sometime. In general (and this is a generalization, of course) the fitter folks will choose meals that are lower in fat and calories. So scan the room and order what the athletic types are having.
|Just stop worrying and eat what you like.|
|Eat nothing and be miserable.|
|Demand to see the chef and complain.|
Question 8 of 10
How do you survive a buffet meal?
|Don’t graze. Decide what you’re going to eat before loading your plate.|
|Limit yourself to one plate and one trip to the buffet.|
All of the above.
Buffets are diet danger zones because of that gluttonous all-you-can-eat mentality. Why would you want to stuff yourself with as much food as your body can humanly hold? Gross! Studies show that the closer a person sits to the buffet line, the more likely they are to jump up for seconds, thirds, or fourths. So physically distance yourself from the sight and smell of the food by choosing a table in the back. Then walk the buffet line without a plate, carefully deciding which foods are healthiest. Go through a second time with your plate, and put only those healthy items on it, rather than scooping a bit of everything on there. No matter what … avoid that Belgian waffle station altogether!
|Sit at a table as far from the buffet line as possible.|
Question 9 of 10
When drinking alcohol at a restaurant …
|Order a pitcher because it’s cheaper!|
Wait until your entrée arrives, then order a cocktail.
You may have thought the answer was D because alcohol is indeed full of empty sugar calories that your body quickly converts to belly fat. However, if you keep things in moderation, it's OK to enjoy an adult beverage now and then. The key is to stick to one drink and to sip it while you eat your entrée. If you finish a drink before your food arrives, it will lower your inhibition, leading to overeating and that self-indulgent, "Oh, it's a special occasion, so I deserve the Death By Chocolate dessert" attitude. Sipping a drink with your dinner ensures it's slowly absorbed with your food and you'll be less likely to throw caution to the wind.
|Alcohol is just empty sugar calories, so forget it!|
|Start drinking as soon as you get there because it’s Friday!|
Question 10 of 10
What three ingredients make restaurant food taste better than home-cooked meals?
|Salt, pepper, and chili powder|
|Lemon juice, oregano, and basil|
|Onions, ginger, and garlic|
Sugar, butter, and cream
Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, a board certified bariatric physician says, "Restaurants tend to use more oils and fats, more sugar, and more salt in their food preparations. The reason is simple: If the food is yummy, you'll come back! But that tends to add up to a lot of extra calories you weren't counting on."
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