Intentions of the Perpetual Dieter
By Becky Warren
Oh yes… I am one of those people. I mentally count the calories of every meal, religiously read every nutrition label, and I make mental note of the amount of calories in every meal other people are ordering. Doesn’t it sound fun to hang out with me? I do keep it to myself…mostly…but it is always on my mind.
I am a confessed perpetual dieter. Although I am always mentally counting calories and fat grams, I still struggle to follow the healthiest path. Every Monday I resolve that I am going to eat healthy, not drink any wine and work out every day. Yet there I am – at another happy hour for one “quick glass of wine.” It’s a struggle, but I do have lots of tricks that I’ve learned to make healthier choices when dining out, enjoying a drink, or for curing a craving.
Every week this column will share tips and tricks to stay the healthy track, as well as different tricks to burn calories and fat faster (I am also always willing to try and every exercise fad that comes around to see if I can burn fat quicker and easier). I am definitely not a nutritionist and have no professional expertise, but I am a committed dieter who has the best intentions.
Here’s a few quick tips for this week…
Dining Out This Holiday Season
Let’s just own it – we are officially in holiday mode, which means parties, which means more eating and boozing. But here are a few tricks that will help lower the calorie count – and help you fit into your NYE party dress:
- Instead of fried, ask for fresh or grilled: Most restaurants will grill any of their dishes if requested.
- Ask for dry and whole wheat or multi-grain bread: One way to shave some calories off any sandwich or burger, request the bread to be dry (many restaurants smear butter or a sauce on the bread) and ask for more nutritious bread like whole wheat or multi-grain. If they don’t carry either, sourdough is a good alternative. Always avoid white breads which have little nutritious value.
- Request everything on the side: You’ve heard it before, but it can save you literally hundreds of calories that you don’t need or miss. Sauces on salads, sandwiches, even on main dishes like chicken or fish – ask for it on the side. This way you will control how much of these calorie-laden sauces you want.
- Ask for steamed instead of sautéed or grilled vegetables: Restaurants tend to laden vegetables with oil to sauté or grill them — these are really unnecessary calories. Order these veggies steamed and save those calories.
- Hummus, edamame, baked chips, whole wheat pitas, fresh veggies. Look for these appetizer combos rather than the standard dips and fried food. It will save you calories that you may use for a holiday drink or to share a dessert.
- Don’t be afraid to ask how menu items are prepared: I am always surprised how often these questions will lead me to change my order. It is shocking how many restaurants ruin perfectly good sauces by adding sour cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese, etc. Ask how they prepare vegetables, potatoes, and breads to determine if there are any hidden calories you can easily eliminate.
- Research & decide your strategy in advance: I know this sounds nerdy, but if I know what restaurant I’m going to in advance, I look online for their calorie counts to determine the best options and alternatives. I also try and go in with a game plan, i.e. how do you want to use your calories, fat & sugar grams especially if you think you will be indulging in some holiday cheer and treats.