To Drink or Not to Drink
Alcohol and restaurants tend to go hand in hand, but if you’re trying to eat right, alcohol-reduction is a good step to make. Mixed drinks, beer and wine all contain high quantities of carbs, sugar and calories, and controlling these temptations can drastically reduce the nutritional (and financial!) cost of the meal. Red wine and other alcohols do have cardio-protective properties, but a healthy moderate diet and plenty of exercise can be even better for the heart.
What About Dessert?
The final course is often where the rubber hits the road in terms of our ability to stick to our dietary guns. Dessert is almost always tempting when you’re out to eat, and there is no arguing against the pleasures of a cup of hot coffee and a sweet treat at the end of an enjoyable dining experience.
Luckily, many restaurants have separate dessert menus that the server will offer once your plates have been cleared, and although it’s fun to “just look” at the menu, chances are that you’ll give in and order something once you read the mouthwatering descriptions of the pastry chef’s latest offerings. The safer route? Don't look at the dessert menu, and simply have a cup of tea or coffee.
However, if dessert seems inevitable, try ordering one dessert and sharing with the person/people you're enjoying your meal with. If you're dining solo, ask if you can be served only half the dessert portion, while the second half is immediately wrapped up in a to-go box. This way, your sweet tooth can be satisfied without the risk of sugar overload.
My final secret about dessert: if you decide to go for it, just relax and enjoy it, and don’t consider feeling so guilty about indulging.
We All Do Our Best
Restaurant eating offers many challenges for the conscientious eater, and every meal offers another opportunity to make healthy choices. But while trying to eat as healthy as possible, it's also important to remember that indulgence is a part of life, particularly on special occasions. So, if you make some dietary missteps and veer off course, simply go back to the basics and start again. Life is meant to be enjoyable, and no one wants to always be suffering from a feeling of deprivation.
So, make the best choices you can, live with the consequences of those choices, and remember that there are always more opportunities to do even better next time.