When dining out…(part one of many)

One of the biggest contributors to the obesity (and overweight) epidemic is that we dine out far too much and consume hundreds of empty calories in excess. A few hundred may not seem to add up to a lot at first, especially since 1lb. of body weight is equivalent to 3,500 calories; but imagine how much longer it takes to take away 3,500 calories to drop a pound (in a heallthy manner that is, please don’t go starving yourself!) than it is to tack on that excess weight. Restaurants are notorious for adding in unnecessary garnishes (i.e. excess oil, salt, thick sauce, etc) which completely diminishes any meal of its nutrients. But if you must go out to eat, and while I have one week left living at my parents home before my big move across country, I am pretty much obligated to meet up with several people for a bite to eat. It seems like food if that one common ground that brings people together – and I find that to be a wonderful thing, as long as you do it mindfully.

Today I ended up going out to eat, TWICE. Now I would much rather invite people over and cook healthy (and quite delicious) meals; but due to time constraints I opted to meet up. It seems to me that no matter where you go, you end up consuming several hidden ingredients that could harm you – but I want to show you some easy ways to dine out the smart way. Number one rule of thumb, find the menu online BEFORE you go and think about each entree to choose the healthiest. Here was today’s venture:

First up: Cosi’s
I met up with two of my old co-workers from high school to catch up over a bite ot eat for lunch, and knew I would have some difficulty choosing what to eat. First I should let you all know that I have an issue digesting oil – apparently when I began consuming a raw diet (or at least 80% raw, can’t be perfect) my body began to find it difficult to digest certain fats such as olive oil and some nuts. Let me tell you this makes for great difficulty when choosing what to order. I had decided beforehand that I would get the Fire Roasted Vegetable Sandwich, but easy on the feta spread (oh yeah, I’ve also been lactose-intolerant for the past 5ish years). I figured this would be a fantastic sandwich, and it looked pretty good too!

One important thing to remember when placing your order: when given the option of sides, always choose the fruit or veggies. There is NO need for excess refined carbs if you choose chips or bread…plus veggies are generally packed with fiber, and are so delicious!
Now, I went to dive into this cute sandwich, when I felt grease on my fingers. Sure enough when I glanced down, there was a puddle of oil.  What a let-down!!  Luckilly the oil was spread along the bottom of the flat bread, so I ended up tearing off the bottom and ate it like an open-faced sandwich. It ended up being pretty good..but not very filling. So after some catching up with my girls, I whipped up a mixed fruit cup once I got home and felt so much better!

Next up: Puerto Vallarta Mexican Cuisine
Every now and then my mom and her friends have a girls night out to get everyone together around good drinks and food. I was fortunate enough to be around to join in on one of them. Now, Mexican cuisine CAN be healthy, especially when it is authentic…authentic  is the key word. This is where they make everything fresh: fresh salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, etc.  Always choose authentic over chain…your gut(and probably your toilet) will thank you later! First we all split a  large bowl of freshly made guacamole, which came with tortillas. Here is my first healthy trick with Mexican: They generally always have fresh vegetables in the kitchen, ask for a plate of celery sticks to use in place of torilla chips when dipping into salsa and guac. It is so delicious!

celery sticks and a hefty scoop of fresh guacamole

When ordering, you should be as specific as possible. If they are unable to modify the meal specifically to your liking, then 1. they don’t deserve your money, and /or 2. your meal will more than likely be pre-made (gross!)I get a little iffy on ordering meals with meats, as they are generally drenched in sauces, so I tend to just to the vegetarian meals (plus they are generally cheaper). I ended up ordering the grilled vegetable fajitas, and no tortillas (empty carbs and calories), and very easy on the oil. They delivered pretty well I must say:

vegetable fajitas, corona light (only 99 cal), rice, beans, pico de gallo, and more fresh guac!

I mainly focused on the vegetables, and used a little of the pico de gallo, guac and some rice here and there. I for some reason cannot stomach the idea of bean paste, so I ignored it. I also added a little protein by tkaing some of my mom’s chicken to add a little to my dish. And what Mexican meal wouldn’t be complete without a nice cold Corona LIGHT beer? I used to love margaritas, until I found out how many calories and refined sugar goes into it – you save over 100 calories by choosing the beer over the marg.

There will be plenty more blogs like this to come – hopefully I will learn to not babble on and on so much and these can be shorter! 🙂

Until next time: make healthy decisions!

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