One night out of the week, my girlfriends and I pick a new restaurant in Austin to dine at. The majority of us are new to the city and since Austin has such a great variety of places to eat, it only makes sense we try a new one once a week! However, eating out can be detrimental to your health and your wallet, so I discovered a few smart ways to dine out.
We are going out to eat tonight, so I have to be wise and get a game plan going prior to tonight’s dinner. This really helps me not regret everything I devoured and how much money I spent. I hope it can help you too!
Here are my smart tips for dining out:
- Don’t deprive yourself leading up to dinner. Some of us make the decision to not eat much for breakfast and lunch, so we can feel thin and only eat at dinner. However, the chances of you feeling starved and overeating at dinner are large. I would know because I use to make this mistake. If you make healthy eating decisions for breakfast and lunch that same day, you won’t overeat at dinner and be tempted to spend more on several menu items. For breakfast I just had two oatmeal and almond butter pancakes and I already know that for lunch I’ll be eating last night’s leftover lentil soup.
- Scan the menu before you are seated. I like to look up a restaurant’s menu on their website before I even get there. I believe it’s helpful to already know and imagine what you are going to eat, so you won’t feel flustered and want to order multiple items because everything looks so good.
- Tell the waiter to hold off on the bread and butter baskets. If that bread basket is in front of me, you can bet your bottom dollar I will eat more than one piece. So, I’m better off not seeing it on my table at all. Out of sight, out of mind, right?!
- Most restaurants are happy to help. If you really want the fish special but don’t want the creamy, crab sauce dumped on top, let your waiter know and maybe there is a healthier substitution. Or if one side dish is pasta and you want the steamed vegetables, let your waiter or waitress know and they should be happy to accommodate.
- Ask for your food to be baked, grilled, steamed, or fried using butter, animal fat, or coconut oil. Frying isn’t the enemy; it is what most foods are fried in.
- 2 drink maximum – This is what I try to stick to because first of all, cocktails are quite expensive and will escalate your bill and secondly, drinking too much alcohol leads to overeating and craving simple carbs. Sip on antioxidant red wine with a glass of water, as well.
- Skip dessert and order a peppermint or fresh ginger tea instead (if available). Ginger tea in particular is stomach smoothing, but both teas will help you digest your food and sleep well.