Over the course of the 7+ years that I have been with my husband, he has never tried to order a meal or even a coffee for me. In fact, normally he rolls his eyes at me and tells me to “go ahead and order your ‘thing'”.
“Thing” because I never order straight off a menu. It doesn’t matter if we’re at dinner or just grabbing a coffee at a nearby cafe. That’s simply because I get what I want, the way I want it. I don’t go outside of my nutrition comfort zone and just “settle” for what’s on the menu.
Since the 1950s, calories in restaurant food has increased by as much as 40%! That’s because of serving sizes and America’s drive to turn healthy food into not so healthy food with cream, bacon and of course cheese. Most people think that a meal isn’t complete without cheese!
I keep these things in mind which is why when I go out, I make sure to try and befriend the waiter/waitress so that they aren’t annoyed with me when it’s time to ask me what I want.
That’s your first tip, schmoooze with your server, if they like you they are much more willing to give you what you want!
Surely I am not the only one out there to “pull a Sally” when I order, food?
But if I am and you’re looking to make smarter eat out choices then try these rules:
- Make your waiter your friend (as stated above). Ask them how they’re doing, look at them when they come to the table and just be polite. Then they won’t mind when you ask for special menu changes.
- Don’t think that you have to stick with salads. You’re eating out, eating out should be a treat and means you should get something that you can’t get at home. I only get a salad if I am really craving one, because let’s face it, I can toss some lettuce and veggies together in my own home.
- Be confident and just go for it.I used to ask my husband… “do you think they would mind if I asked for…” and if he said yes, I would avoid asking at all. Now, I have learned that it doesn’t hurt to ask. If there is something on the menu that looks good, but doesn’t quite meet my nutrition guidelines, I ask if the chef can change it up.For example, I went out a while back with me girlfriends to an Italian restaurant. The menu had nothing without pasta, and I am not a big white pasta fan. I have just grown too accustomed to what we have in the house, which is homemade wheat and chickpea pasta. Plus, I don’t like to eat it late at night. I saw however, they had scallops on the menu an appetizer, and they had a chef salad as well. So I asked if they could make a salad with the scallops on top for my dinner. BINGO! It was awesome! And yes, I was craving salad, But also, I don’t cook scallops in our house often (and now that I am vegan, this will just be a great memory).
- Ask how things are prepared.If you are substituting veggies for fries make sure you’re making as good of a choice as you think by asking the server how the vegetables are prepared. Are they lathered in butter and oil? Or are they grilled without? If so, politely ask if it’s possible to have them without butter. If they can’t make that request then go with a side salad instead.Same goes for your main food, if the meal looks great, but the meat is fried, ask for it grilled or broiled. I have never had a restaurant say they couldn’t do that. After all, you’re paying for the meal and should be able to get it how you like it.
- Common changes I make: These are just a few requests I have made over the years. Though I am sure this can go on and on: Grilled, not fried; double veggies instead of rice or other side dish; wrapped instead of bread; no cheese please; egg whites in omelets instead of all whole eggs; salad dressing on the side (of course).
The first time, you might feel awkward but after awhile it becomes second nature! Anyone that has ever eaten out with me has learned to accept that I am going to change up the menu, and I have never had any bad experiences this far!
Meal Time Wednesday (a day late)!
What’s For Dinner?
Last night for dinner was Buffalo Tempeh and a side of sauteed kale and mushrooms! So good. The kale was from the farmer’s market and tasted amazing! Dan wasn’t a fan of the buffalo sauce, I thought it was okay but this probably isn’t something we’ll fix again.
Left over chickpea piccata, over mashed cauliflower and a side of broccoli! Did I mention how much I love this stuff!!
- What did you have for dinner?
- Do you order meals customized to your taste when you go out?