Friday, September 18, 2015

How to Eat {and drink} Healthy on Date Night -- Dinner and Drink Tips

Date nights = TEMPTATION for food and drinks for myself and hubs!!  It’s not often that we get to break away from the kids and reconnect, laugh, and have fun together -- just the two of us. We’ve found that there are ways to still enjoy ourselves and eat yummy foods (and sometimes cocktails) that don’t totally KILL our health / fitness goals. Here are a few tips to cut the calories during your next date night along with some of my personal fav date night healthy options!

Skip the Chips & Salsa and Bread

This one is simple--well sorta! haha  It’s easier to skip the chips when you realize that 4oz of chips at a Mexican restaurant = 600 calories, huh?  And, that small breadstick dipped in 2 TBS of olive oil at your fav italian restaurant adds 340 calories to your meal.  Food for thought!

Keep it Grilled with Veggies

It’s ok to say to the waitress, “I hope you don’t mind we may be a little picky with our order...we are trying to keep things light”.  If you let your waitress know ahead of time, they are usually more than happy to help!  Ask for GRILLED instead of FRIED. Most restaurants can prepare any regularly fried food as a grilled option instead.  Go one step further and ask for no butter or oil to keep it extra lean!

Consider swapping French fries for an extra side of veggies (again, no butter!). Or, swap the mashed potatoes for a plain sweet potato or side salad to keep your calories intake down.

TIP:  Most restaurant meals are FULL of, ask for no salt if you want to decrease your morning after restaurant bloat! {drinking extra water will help too!}

Season's 52  Lump Crab Wedge with Veggies
Everything at Season's 52 is under 475 calories and is nutritionally balanced and delish!!  
It's a GREAT Date night spot!

Outback Maple Mustard Chicken with 2 sides of Veggies
Next time I'd order the maple mustard sauce on the side :)
Order veggies with no butter or salt.  Add lemon to veggies for flavor.

Split the Meal

Did you know that restaurants typically serve 2-3 times MORE than a suggested serving size?  YIKES.  Sharing a meal will slim your waistline AND save you some money! If you both want to try something different, ask your server to box half your entrée before it even appears at the table.  Less temptation :)

Read Between the Lines

When looking at the menu, consider a few things to keep you meal low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol. Any foods that are fried, scalloped, pan-friend, sautéed, buttered, creamed or stuffed are typically higher in fat and calories. Choose the steamed, baked, grilled or roasted options. Pick a meal that includes seafood, chicken or a lean meat and try to avoid fatty meats. Look for items that are marked “healthy” or “smart choice.” If there aren’t any, consider asking  your server about the ingredients in your meal.
Bonefish Sea Bass with Mango Salsa and Green Beans
Ask for no butter or oil on fish and veggies.

Eat the Appetizers -- Only the healthy ones!

A lot of restaurants have a wide range of healthy appetizers, from seafood to vegetables. Consider skipping a full meal all together and order two appetizers instead. This way, you’ll cut back on calories and get to try the tasty appetizers that you’ve previously skipped to maintain your waistline. One of our favs!

Outback Ahi Tuna 
Skip the creamy dipping sauce and ask for a side of ginger soy sauce.

Choose your Salad Entrees Wisely

Most people assume that ordering a salad as a meal is the healthiest choice when eating at a restaurant. Not always the case.  Contrary to belief, salads loaded with meats, cheese, and croutons are loaded with calories--some even contain more fat, calories, and sodium than a full entree. For example, a normal Caesar salad with chicken and fried croutons {yes, croutons are FRIED!} can add up to 560 calories and 36 grams of fat. The trick is to order the salad: {Skip the cheese, croutons, and creamy dressings -- they add calories and fat!  Load your salad with veggies and a light balsamic dressing -- or oil/vinegar.  If you’re going super light...use lemon as your dressing!} Here are some of my favs!!

Bonefish Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad 
{skip the cheese and ask for dressing on the side}
EXTRA Lean:  Use lemon as dressing, and skip the cheese, beans, and corn.  
Ask for extra roasted red peppers, onions, and tomatoes

Bahama Breeze 
Grilled Chicken and Tropical Fruit on Mixed Greens
{skip the cheese and almonds and ask for dressing on the side}
EXTRA Lean:  Use lemon as dressing, and skip the cheese, and almonds.  
BONUS:  Adding fruit to your salad adds flavor and cuts down on the amount of dressing needed!

Outback Sesame Chicken Salad 
EXTRA Lean:  Order dressing on the side OR use lemon.  Skip the almonds and corn. 
Ask for extra roasted red peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

Choose a Healthier Drink

Instead of choosing a thick beer, try a glass of white wine. Studies show that a nightly glass of wine includes antioxidants that protect the heart and lower cholesterol. The average glass of red wine has 120 calories, while white wine has 110 calories. Light beers have approx 100 calories.  Also note that ciders have the most amount of calories. If you’re into mixed drinks, try choosing one a light or diet option to reduce calories. Many mixes and syrups are loaded with sugar and empty calories. Mojitos, tequila sunrise, mint julep and Tom Collins are all healthy-minded drink choices.  Or, cut the mixers altogether and order a vodka with soda water and extra limes {Don’t choose tonic water--it contains hidden calories}

Extra Lean -- Choose water, or sparkling water!

Check out this awesome website that lists different types of restaurants and offers healthy options at each!

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