Five Tips For Eating Out
I do. I know it’s expensive and I know I should cook more at home, but I just can’t help myself. I love the whole experience of trying a restaurant where I’ve never been. I love chatting with the servers and learning the specials of the evening. I love the way the napkins are so delicately folded under perfectly polished silverware. I love the way the menu feels to the touch.
It’s an addiction, really, and both my wallet and waistline have been known to suffer for it. I could give you my five biggest tips for saving money at restaurants, but really, that’s pretty dry and I still haven’t figured all that out myself. So instead, I’ll give you my five biggest tips for saving your waistline.
1. Snack like it’s going out of style
It sounds backwards because aren’t you supposed to be hungry when faced with a wondrous feast? However, eating something small like an apple and some string cheese an hour before you go isn’t going to fill you up. Instead, it will just take the edge off of your ravenous hunger so that you don’t eat everything in sight (i.e. the bread basket). You can never trust a starving woman with a full bread basket. Just sayin’.
2. Salad is for lovers
You may not save money by ordering an extra course, but by first filling up on salad (with the dressing on the side!), you won’t be so tempted to eat your entire meal, which often times is enough food for a small family of three. Salads with veggies are rich in fiber, which immediately tricks your brain into thinking that it’s full. Plus, vegetables are good for you!
That’s sauce on the side, not a desperate cry for help. Having worked in several large kitchens, I know first hand what goes into all of those heavenly tasting sauces that your chicken, fish or steak are swimming in. And, while I’m all for everything in moderation (sometimes a girl just needs some cream. Amen?), if you eat out often you may want to listen up.
4. Watch your mouth
It’s easy to just keep on drinking the good stuff while conversation is flowing and the courses are flying. I know this. I gained almost ten pounds because of it. Learn from my mistakes and always, always keep track of how much you are drinking at dinner. It’s easier than it sounds to casually knock back three or four glasses of wine during a fancy dinner. Alcohol = calories. Watch it.
5. Eat dessert.
But learn to share. One bite of the richest dessert can truly satisfy any needy sweet tooth without going overboard. You shouldn’t be hungry when you get to dessert—you should be full from dinner. You don’t need dessert but if you’re like me, you have to have just a little something sweet or disaster will strike. My favorite dessert to order is creme brulee, but knowing exactly what goes in that creme brulee deters me from gobbling the whole thing. Naturally, I still will covet and eat the entire burnt sugar topping (that part doesn’t count), but only one or two bites of the actual creamy dessert satisfies me every time.