|Disclosure: This post is Sponsored By The Cheesecake Factory.
It’s Skinny. It’s Delicious. It’s SkinnyLicious.
If you’re like me and the other 44% of all Americans, you’ve made a commitment to a New Year’s Resolution. I want to eat more healthfully and get more exercise, and having friends that share common goals can be really helpful when trying to keep New Year’s resolutions; of course, having friends who don’t can get you into trouble. And while I put a high priority on enjoying life and not sweating the small stuff, if you’re trying to eat more healthfully there are a few things you can do to keep yourself in-check when eating out with friends.
5 Tips for Eating Out with Friends
#1. Choose your restaurant carefully. Don’t go to a burger joint if you’re looking for something a little lighter. Instead, choose a restaurant that offers special menu items lower in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. And if you have a big group, select a place that specializes in small plates so you can try a variety of dishes; big, bold flavors trump big portions every time.
#2. Share and discover. Share entrees and other dishes with your friends so you can experience different preparations and ingredients. Make an effort to try items from different sections of the menu — you just might discover something new and awesome! And if a dish isn’t quite a hit, no one really suffers.
#3. Know how to read a menu. Fats and excessive sodium can be lurking in every corner of the menu. Choose a friend with the healthiest outlook (or fastest Smart Phone to access nutritional information) to be The Decider if there is a dispute over what to order. And for convenience, have the same person interface with the server and handle splitting and paying the check if possible.
#4. Beware of calorie traps in drinks. You’ve ordered dinner wisely, so don’t blow it with a calorie-laden beverage, cocktail or coffee drink! Innocent looking fruit juices and creamy coffee drinks can add 100 calories or more to your meal, while cocktails can add upwards of 200 calories!
#5. Walk. It almost goes without mentioning, but if you can walk, walk! If you are going out with a group from work, suggest that the group walk to the restaurant instead of driving. If walking to and from dinner means you need to eat a little earlier because you don’t want to walk after dark, all the better. Eating too close to bedtime may decrease calorie burning and increase fat storage during sleep.
I hope these tips help you keep a healthier outlook when eating out with friends. And if you happen to have one too many bites of the brownie sundae someone just had to get, know that tomorrow is another day: A new day with new opportunities to make healthy decisions.