So a few weeks ago I posted about my desire to eat in more…to make more food at home and stop relying on eating out so much. Now, while I have been eating at home more than I was, I am beginning to realize there are a lot of advantages to eating out (and some significant disadvantages).
The biggest advantage is how easy it is to keep track of the number of calories you are eating. Almost every restaurant has a listing – either online or at the restaurant – showing the nutritional content of the food they serve. Some even have very handy meal calculators, where you select the menu items you want to have, and it will calculate all the nutritional information on that meal for you (kudos to Potbelly’s and Wendy’s). Even places you would think might not want to advertise how bad for you their food is (I’m looking at you McDonalds), has that information readily available.
So rather than having to measure out every ingredient when I make something at home, and then try to calculate how many calories is in a serving of whatever I am making, I can decide what I want to eat ahead of time, and go get my ready made meal!!!
The second big advantage to eating out while dieting, is that it doesn’t seem like dieting. Traditionally dieting, particularly using diet programs, stresses eating certain quantities of set types of food. Generally you are encouraged to cook at home and to find recipes that provide a good variety of food, while staying within your preset limits. And for some this works well – some people genuinely like to cook and find this a fun challenge. For me however it seems like an elaborate ruse designed to trick my body into thinking I am not dieting; just a big tease, giving me food that seems like it is decadent and bad for me, but in reality leaves me wanting the real thing…..Sorry, eating a slice of homemade low fat cheese and artichoke heart pizza isn’t a replacement for real pizza, but its close enough that I feel like dialing Domino’s immediately after eating it.
So, when I go out to eat, even though I am getting food that is within my daily limits, and is not the fatty, fried, artery choking, yet awesome fare you might normally get when eating out, it has that imprimatur. So whether I get the Wendy’s Triple with everything (except cheese), extra mayo, with an extra large order of fries, a large frosty, and a large diet coke (please, even I have limits), or I am getting the grilled chicken sandwich with low fat mustard sauce and a plain baked potato….I am still eating at Wendy’s!!!
Beer!!! I love Beer! I don’t drink it every day, and now that I am dieting I don’t dare drink it at home; if I do I will inevitably have another, and probably another – because hey…I love Beer!. Which brings me to he third advantage of eating out. I now feel safe having the occasional Beer. Eating out actually makes it harder for me to indulge in more than one of that frosty delight. It’s more expensive than just grabbing a bottle from the fridge, and it isn’t readily at my fingertips. So, for example one of my favorite places to eat and drink beer is the Dogfish Head Alehouse. Last night I took my son there for dinner. I had an Alehouse Salad with grilled steak and one Shelter Pale Ale. A very satisfying meal that only cost me about 600 calories! And…I had the beer I so dearly love!!
So, while there are disadvantages to eating out – it is definitely more expensive, and it is difficult to get the proper variety of foods you should be eating – I don’t plan on making any attempt to eat in every night. I am going to try and strike a proper balance between the two and move from there!!!
All for Now
p.s. Here is a link demonstrating the beneficial effect of Beer for your heart…as if I needed another reason to have one.