When I splurge on a cheat meal I like to go out to a nice restaurant, and on those nights I don't worry about what I order. BUT there are a lot of times where I find myself having to go out to eat for meetings, or other engagements that are not part of my cheat. I figured that you all find yourself in those same predicaments so I wanted to share with you how I make the best decisions possible when eating out.
EASY ON THE BREAD
Once I am physically at the restaurant I try my hardest to stay away from that bread. If the other people at the table don't mind, you can ask the waiter to hold off. If they do, keep it at the other end of the table. Maybe you all have self control, but I do not, and I love my bread so keep it away!
Unless the meal is part of my cheat, I stick to either water and lemon, or unsweetened green tea for my drink. If I am in the need of an alcoholic beverage then my go to is vodka soda water lemon (I make sure to sip that real slow!).
I like to skip the appetizer and order a side garden salad to start. I get mine with olive oil and vinegar, but if you get another dressing ask for it on the side. That way YOU have the control over how much is going on your salad. I also avoid croutons and cheese. I have found that by doing this I actually end up enjoying my meal more. In the past I would fill up on bread and apps. By the time my meal came I was full and felt like crap.
When it is time to make a decision on my main course there are a few factors that come into play for me. I always will choose fish, chicken, or lean meat. How it is prepared is also important. I choose things that have been steamed, baked, grilled, or broiled. I stay far away from things that have been fried. I also choose meals that include a lot of veggies. If my meal comes with mashed potatoes, or another starch, I ask my server for double veggies instead. Remember, it is perfectly fine to ask your server to customize your order. Also, feel free to ask questions about how your food is being prepared, and what exactly is on it. If rice is an option, I always ask if they have brown rice instead. If you find that you can't finish your meal, don't keep picking at it. Ask your server for a take home box as soon as you feel full. If you aren't taking it home, put your napkin on your plate. That helps to keep you from picking at your plate when you aren't even hungry.
Unless I am having a cheat meal I stay away from dessert. If you want to be doing something while others are eating their dessert order a cup of green tea. Or better yet, have the whole table split something small so that you get your taste but don't eat the entire thing.
The important thing to remember is that it IS possible to eat healthy when you are out. You shouldn't just accept that you are going to eat bad because you are at a restaurant. If you want to make healthy choices, you can!