Months ago I ate out with a group of women all on Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure. As we looked at the menu one person said "Don't judge me for what I'm about to order". I was WAY too busy judging myself at the time to judge her food choices. I barely noticed what she ordered, but it registered that she continually tried to get the rest of us to try the bread. Later as she enjoyed dessert, while the rest of us had a cup of coffee, she had the gall to say "This diet is impossible to do when you eat out". Impossible, as in it can't be done? Or impossible as in "it's impossible to control myself"?
Eating out is difficult on any diet. Diets that require you to know the nutritional values of the food are even more so. The good news that is that new laws require restaurants to display more nutritional information, they bad news it that it doesn't apply to everyone (only chains with more than 20 restaurants need to comply). By 2011 movie theaters and even vending machines must list their nutritional facts! Knowing the carb and sugar content of the food you eat will get even easier.
Honestly, I avoided eating out at the beginning of the diet. Or if I did, I got a "Protein Style Burger" (burger loaded up with lettuce, no bun) and side salad. I was very strict on the plan and did not want to stray for even one meal. But I know some people eat out much more often and want to know they can make good choices. My favorite meal to eat out now is at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay: Prosciutto wrapped shrimp over sauteed spinach.
Here are some tips on following the Belly Fat Cure even while eating out:
1. Keep It Simple - Pick your protein first and then load up the rest of your plate with green veggies. If it doesn't come with green veggies, ask to substitute. Avoid grains (breads), sauces, anything breaded - keep it simple.
2. Get the Facts - Ask your server for the nutritional facts list before you order. Better yet, check the website before you leave the house and know the good choices. Jorge Cruise's Carb Counting book offers lots of restaurant info and is less then $8 on Amazon. Even McDonalds has the Nutritional Facts printed on the bottom of the tray liner
3. Skip the Alcohol - Or if you must, choose wisely and have only one. A light beer or white wine are great choices, but cocktails are loaded with sugar thanks to the fruit juice. I had to kiss favorite Apple Martini goodbye with the Belly Fat Cure, but I don't really miss it now.
4. Substitute or Get it on the Side - Ask to have salad dressing on the side always and if it is a sweet dressing substitute it for another. Italian dressings are usually a good choice, but others like Ranch, are completely hit or miss with their sugar content. Even though mashed potatoes are allowed on the plan, they are allowed in very limited quantity, so substitute them for whatever the fresh green veggie is.
5. Avoid Places - Whether it is chips & salsa at Mexican restaurants or pasta & bread at Italian, if you will be too tempted, make it easy on yourself and avoid those types of places for now. I avoid Panera, since I used to stop off and get a cinnamon chip scone and green iced tea (comes loaded with sugar) after I dropped my son off for Preschool. The temptation is just too great there for me personally.
Whatever you do, don't make excuses like the women at the beginning of this story. You can do this diet AND eat out, you just have to want it bad enough! Happy New Year BFCers! Here is to a healthy and happy 2011!