I love taking a break from the kitchen to enjoy an awesome meal out with my wife and experience some of the culinary awesomeness that New York City has to offer.
But, the problem is that one meal at your favorite date night spot can lead to a huge dietary pitfall. Simply put, it’s just way too easy to consume 1,500 or even 2,000 calories per sitting.
That’s a full day’s worth of calories in just one dinner.
Broken down it looks like this:
- Pre-dinner bread and butter = 200 calories
- Pre-dinner cocktail = 150 calories
- Appetizer (really need to look out for this one) = 500-1,500 calories!
- Steak = 300-500 calories
- Potato = 150-300 calories (depending on how “loaded” you take it)
- Vegetable = 100 calories
- Dinner Drink = 150 calories
- Dessert = 300-750 calories
- After Dinner Drink = 150 calories
And this is being a little conservative, to be honest. It really is entirely possible to put away closer to 3,000 total calories in one dinner. That is just terrifying.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this nightmare. Here are 5 easy-to-follow rules that you can implement RIGHT NOW:
- Plan ahead – try to avoid restaurants that offer huge portions; check out the menu online and think ahead to some of the potential (healthier) options available
- Skip the bread and the chips/salsa – send it back, they just sit there begging you to eat them but don’t provide anything of value … besides, you’ll still be able to enjoy your main meal when it comes, anyway
- Limit the booze – having a drink with family friends is part of the social aspect of eating out, but we don’t need to go overboard … limit drinks with mixers and sugary additions and opt for either wines, straight liquor (I love bourbon neat) or just mix with seltzer water (like a vodka-soda with extra lemon)
- Go a little low-carb – while I don’t buy totally into the low-carb dogma, adopting this approach while eating out tends to help, only because restaurant foods tend to be a bit heavier in the fat category than most; stick with the proteins and load up on the vegetables and limit the carbs to a handful-size portion
- Indulge (a little) – if you follow all of the above recommendations, that should allow for a little bit of a reward in the form of dessert; share it with your loved one (which makes for a more of an intimate setting for those on date night)
It’s all about taking responsibility for your choices to keep you on track.
Weigh out the priorities next time you sit down for a nice night out for dinner:
- Would I rather eat this roll, butter, bowl of chips with salsa and wash it down with a margarita?
- Or would I feel better by cutting some of this out tonight, focusing on the social aspect of the meal and be one step closer to reaching my goal?
You be the judge.