Real food Rule No. 1: Skipping the bread is completely obvi so I'm not even going there. When you sit down, drink a full glass of water before you put anything else in your mouth. If you're anything like me, you have been looking forward to this outing in what you could only imagine to be the way an inmate is looking at parole. You're so fkn free you can't even stand it. You're basically floating into the restaurant because you're thinking to yourself that right now you would normally be at home herding your kids into the bathtub. HA! Oh no... mommy is out tooooonight! So when you get to the restaurant it's like all bets are off, you're ready to paaaaar-tay! It's at this point I usually order the biggest, baddest, boldest wine I can find and oops, how did that go down so fast?!
Slow you roll girlfriend, slow your role. Taking that glassful of water is just kinda like pumping the breaks. We're not stopping the fun, we're just harnessing the energy and using it for good, not hangover evil. This will also help you to not dive into any salty, crunchy, fatty whatevers they place before you as you wait to place your order. Drink your water, say hello to those around you... (and keep your phone off the table! That's a bonus tip.)
Real Food Rule No. 2: You don't need a 4 or 5 course meal. Skip ordering an appetizer as an appetizer and instead order one as an entree. The sizes are smaller and the food is usually pretty simple. There could be a tuna tar-tar or a grilled octopus if you're into food from the sea. Chicken skewers, or little meatballs if you're into meat. Maybe there is hummus and roasted veggies you use as dippers. Peruse the apps like the entrees don't exist. Appetizer portions are like regular people portions who aren't trying to feed a family of 10 off one plate.
Real Food Rule No 3: There is this remote part of the menu that rarely sees the light of day, and it's really only the true purveyors of fine cuisine who know it's there and full of useful things... like vegetables. It's that little teeny-tiny section down in the corner of the menu called "Sides". Now beware! There are some bad things lurking in there that by simply reading them will begin producing excess saliva in your mouth which will then immediately send the signal to your brain that your gut is ready to digest some food so send down the truffle fries, STAT!
Ignore your body/mind and listen to your fat cells. They don't want to get any bigger so please, order the spinach, or broccoli, or brussels, and ask them to steam them instead of roasting the ever loving goodness out of them. And ignore the fact that a plate of steamed broccoli can run you about $8... just ignore it and order them.
Ok, so now you've had a glass of water, you've ordered an appetizer and a side of steamed veggies, and you're feeling pretty righteous.
This is where it gets tricky. You may be feeling a little too good here, but I implore you, don't get cocky. Don't start patting yourself on the back just yet. There's more to this meal and you know it, so you better be well prepared because here comes that sly waiter hoping for a sliiiightly bigger tip with his little tiny dessert menu that he'll casually place before you and leave it to your inner demons to hash out if it will be the bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake, or that chocolatey lava thing!
Can I interest you in some dessert? Take your time, I'll be back in a few minutes.
This indeed is a tricky moment. You're feeling like you deserve that dessert. Just a bite. You've been doing sooooo well! Well I'm here to tell you that it's not an option. Buck up girl and don't get your panties all in a wad because dessert ain't happening. Your reward is not packing on the pounds and sabotaging your weight loss efforts. So what you need to do here is say, Pardon me, but are there any fresh berries I could nibble on? And without even looking at your friends tell them to shut the f*ck up. They can have their cake and eat it too, but not you. Not this time. This time you're serious, and while you're out to have fun and let loose, you're not here to take home bigger fat cells.
Going out doesn't mean that you need to be force fed large ass portions and eat 5 course meals. Just be smart, and deal with the fact that you may go home a wee bit hungry but you'll be damed if you're hungover at 5 am with kids jumping on your head and poking at your bigger belly asking if you're pregnant again! (Yup, that happened once.)
As always, I'd love to hear from you and discover what tips you've uncovered that work for you! My community can only grow by sharing the experiences and helping one another out, so please leave a comment, leave a tip, let me know if any of these tips are useful and/or currently being employed by you!!