Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Night Eats!

Ok so it is Friday, the best day of the week! Maybe some of you have plans to curl up on the couch and have a cozy night in or maybe you are rearing to have a nice dinner out on the town. If you are chomping at the bit for the later, please know that eating out does not have to be diet sabotage! In fact, you can go enjoy a delicious meal with your honey, your girlfriends, or your co-workers and still stay on track, especially if you follow these tips! There has been scientific research (Here and Here) that illustrates the commonality among friends when it comes to not only picking your entrée but also the pace at which you eat, even bite for bite.

At the University of Illinois, researchers concluded that when diners had to state their meal choice aloud, the others at the table ordered menu items similar to that who ordered first. For example, if the first person at the table ordered a cheese burger and fries, the next person ordered something similar. On the flip side, if the first person ordered a grilled chicken salad with the dressing on the side, the next person made a more health-conscious decision with their order. Why is this? Researchers concluded that the diners wanted to be different from one another, but not too different. The same thing occurred when looking at monetary value of menu items. If the first person to order chooses a higher priced item, the next person tended to follow.

So what happens when you head out for a bite to eat with a group of friends? Do you have to order just like them? HECK NO! You order according to what YOU want. If you are following a strict plan, you order something that fits into that plan. If you have room to splurge, go ahead and do so but stay within reasonable means. Do not think that since ‘Barb’ is ordering the colossal chocolate cake that is a whopping 950 calories per slice (yes they really do have such a thing) that you have to order it too! Here are some great tips to store away and use when you head out to eat.

  • Check out the menu in advance- You may feel rushed to order when you get to the restaurant with all the commotion going on around you, especially on a busy Friday night. In order to prevent a rushed decision, take a look at the menu in advance. Most places’ make their menus available online and some even give nutritional information. Look up the menu, choose the option that fits best for you, and stick to that plan the waiter takes your order.
  • Order FIRST- Like the U of I study concluded, if you are last to order, you may change your mind at the last second to be more like the other diners. If you order first and state exactly what you want, you are more apt to stick to your plan.
  • Know your options- If you are unsure what an ingredient is or if it does not clearly state how the food is cooked, just ask. Ask your server what is in your food; you have every right to know! When selecting from a menu, try to stick to options that are baked, broiled, grilled, roasted, or steamed rather than creamed, breaded, sautéed, or fried.
  • Ask, ask, ask- Ask for sauces, dressings, and condiments on the side. This way, you can actually see how much is on your food. When places put dressing on the salad for you, the caloric value of your food can easily increase by 200-600 calories, depending on what it is. Also, ask for your food to be cooked ‘dry’ if you are watching your fats. Sometimes if your meat or vegetables are grilled, oil or butter is used in order to do so.
  • Savor the moment- Eat slowly and enjoy your meal. Remember, eating out isn’t all about the food. It is about the company you are with, the experience and the memories that you are creating, which can still be done over a grilled chicken breast, wild rice, and steamed vegetables instead of a double cheese burger and half a pound of fries.

Hope y’all have a wonderful, healthy weekend!


P.S. Did ya really think I would leave without posting some type of recipe?! No way Jose! If you are anything like me, than you LOVE LOVE peanut butter! I love almond butter just as much and when it is fresh ground, it is the most delicious thing. I can eat spoonfuls at a time, but I don’t! Actually, I will have my husband measure it out for me if I am going to have any type of nut butter because one tablespoon turns into 2 huge, overflowing tablespoons very quickly lol. Here is a way to make your very own nut butter with a twist and it is much cheaper than some of those at the store (which can be upwards of $10.00) 

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