Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eating Out - What To Do, What To Do?

There are so many temptations out there just calling our names. It seems like there is a fast food joint lurking at every corner, and then in between those are the ice cream parlors, Starbucks, and dine-in restaurants. Can’t catch a break can we???

So, the only way around these high calorie, fat soaking, water retaining joints are to beat them at their own game! How is that?... Figure out how to pick healthier choices. And if they don’t have “healthier” options, make something healthier by special ordering – Example: Asking for no mayo, choosing a whole wheat bun, or using Skim milk – no whip.

When I first started my weight loss journey back in June of 2008 I dreaded going out to eat, even if it was to a dine-in restaurant with family. I wanted to eat healthy, and not every place has healthy choices. I was scared to death of reeking havoc on my progress and all my hard work.

So, I started looking up some of my family’s favorite places to eat to figure out what was healthy. I also found it fun to see the fat and calories in things that I used to eat, or something that my brother or husband ate – Like Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo, or a Basket of Buffalo Hot Wings.

In my searching I came across a Dotti’s site, who is avid about weight watchers. She has so many restaurants on her site with a lot of their menu selection broken down for you. Here are some examples of things that I thought weren’t too bad for me, but turns out that were a lot worse than expected.

From Taco Bell:
Chili Cheese Burrito: Fresco Style (280 cal/9 g fat/4 g fiber/40 g carbs)

From McDonald’s:
McChicken [5.2 oz] (370 cal/16 g fat/1 g fiber/41 g carbs)
French Fries: Medium [4 oz] (380 cal/20 g fat/5 g fiber/47 g carbs)

From Applebee’s:
Asian Chicken Salad (714 cal/9 g fat/9.6 g fiber/121 g carbs)

From O’Charley’s:
Pecan Chicken Salad (1925 cal/126 g fat/16 g fiber/42 g carbs)

Here’s one of my brother’s favorites from Applebee’s:
Buffalo Chicken Wings w/Bleu Cheese Dressing (1724 cal/132 g fat/2 g fiber/)
*Yep that’s right 132 grams of FAT!

Here’s my husband’s favorite from Olive Garden (and this isn’t counting the 6-7 breadsticks he has):
Fettuccine Alfredo: (850 cal/48 g fat/2 g fiber/70.5 g carbs)

I suggest checking out her site for yourself:

So, what I’ve learned from this is to know what my healthier options are before even going. At Taco Bell I usually get a hard soft taco, or Pinto’s in cheese. At McDonald’s when I don’t get a salad with light dressing, I choose my McChicken without mayo (that takes away 6 grams of fat by itself) and the I have maybe 10 fries from my kiddos. Their grilled snack wraps are good as well – minus the Ranch dressing. Applebee’s now has a weight watchers section that lets you know the calories and fat in them – love it! And O’Charley’s I now get their grilled California salad with no pecans or blue cheese crumble with the dressing on the side.

Here are a few of my tips when going out to eat:

1. Try to resist the bread basket as much as possible. If you choose to give in, then try breaking
it in half instead of eating a whole one.
2. Before your meal comes try feeling up on soup – like Olive Garden’s Minestrone. Broth soups
are much better than cream based.
3. Drink lots of water (this fills you up).
4. When your meal comes immediately ask for a to Go box. Put half of your meal in it to take
home. Restaurant meals cam usually feed two people!
5. Don’t feel bad about special ordering or even asking how things are made: no butter on your
veggies, dressing on the side, no mayo, no vegetable oil, etc.
6. Enjoy every bite – do NOT mindless eat. Savor!

I found some other website that give great tips and tricks to use with certain eateries.

Here is a link for Cold Stone Creamer, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Chipotle, Sbarro, and Baskin Robbins:

These other two just give great tips in general:


Don’t forget to skip on over to
Sandy at God’s Speaks Today and she what she has to say on Fitness Friday. Have a great week!


If you're looking for my Gettin' Fine in '09 post, it's directly below this!


AND - I don't normally direct traffic to my family blog but I wanted everyone to see my cute kids and their Eater photos. Go take a look at the link below - the videos are too cute!

The Foster Family


LisaShaw said...

Sarah I have to spend FAR more time on your blog (smile). I'm putting your button on my Living a Fit Life blog.

I received your comments earlier and I so appreciate you and will respond back..

Bless you.

Debbie said...

These are great tips for eating out! I know I've sometimes had a cup of gazpacho soup before going out to eat to spoil my appetite. It's low in calories and yet healthy. I'm amazed at how many calories Applebee's Asian Chicken Salad has! I really like it too. I need to start adding you to my Fitness Friday posts so people will go to Sandy and to you too!!!