Picture this scenario: you’re reading your favorite restaurant review and the (adorable) author who obviously hasn’t ever had any kids and probably hasn’t set foot in a gym (ever) is talking about the amazing meal she just had at the newest restaurant in town. You get excited and think, “Gosh, we haven’t been out in ages…this looks great…” and then reality sets in. ‘I’ve been doing so well on my diet’ or ‘the kids will never sit still’…or…you get the idea.
So, what is a young, hip mom to do when she wants to go out to dinner but can’t afford the food hangover the next day? (‘Sorry honey, mommy’s going to sleep in. Feed yourself breakfast’). Going out isn’t the problem…it’s navigating the menu once you’re there.
Moms especially have a unique situation. Not only are you trying to feed yourself at a restaurant, but also you’re supervising your little one while he or she eats (ahem, plays with) their food. At this point, you may be thinking…or saying, no judgment here…’bring me a glass of wine in a to-go cup and the check!’
Here’s what I like to do:
-First, I like to do a little recon work. I’ll check out the restaurant’s menu online and I’ve even been known to call them ahead of time if I have questions. If you have a food allergy, this is always a good idea. My husband is the Executive Chef at a large Asian-fusion restaurant here in town and he’ll be the first tell you that it’s not worth getting sick…so call the chef out to the table if your server isn’t answering your questions well enough.
-On that same note, I’m notorious for skimming a menu and then ‘creating’ my own meal from the sides or sauces portion. As long as you are patient and (sweetly) explain what you want (butter instead of oil, broccoli only, cobb salad with no cobb thank you very much) you can typically get a gorgeous, custom meal that will leave you feeling great. Ordering for children can be tricky-it’s tough to spend money on a separate meal for them only to have them get distracted and not eat. Nowadays, ‘sides’ are usually served family style; you can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak! Don’t they always want whatever you’re eating anyway?
-That brings me to my next trick-the ‘sides’ portion of a menu can be a treasure trove of ways to build your meal into something satisfying and light. Going to a steakhouse? Why not order a platter of steamed veggies with barbeque sauce for dipping? Love French fries? Have them for your entrée instead of a steak. The goal here is to lighten up the meal while still enjoying your favorites. Personally, I adore (ahem…) blue cheese dressing (don’t tell anyone) so I might have a salad with blue cheese and a side of steamed veggies. Sometimes, my husband will order a large steak and I’ll have a few bites. The trick is to eat mindfully; we really only get about 20 minutes from the time we begin eating until our brain tells our stomach to stop.
-Last but not least, and I can’t stress this enough, don’t beat yourself up. If you go out and end up consuming more than makes you feel comfortable, recognize that you had a great meal and a great time and move on. If we are experiencing negative emotions after a meal, our bodies won’t process that meal in the same way. Don’t make it worse by feeling guilty; it will make it that much harder for your system to break down the food.
I hope this leaves you with some good ammo the next time you decide to venture out. Have any great tips I didn’t mention? Please share!
[Morgan Torres Blog Tag]