So, you are on a low carb diet and doing quite well. You have accomplished this by adhering closely to the fundamentals and making sure that temptations are minimized. Just when all is going so well, your best friends invites you to dinner.
There is no need to panic. If you follow the steps that I have outlined below, you will have a wonderful dining experience with your friend and have very little impact on your low carb weight loss plan. In fact, why not treat this as a reward for your dieting diligence.
The first thing you must keep in mind is that going to a restaurant will most likely involve an increase in carb intake for that day. You must set your expectation appropriately. Consider the experience a rare guilty pleasure. That said, occasional variances from plan are harmless. So much so that I wouldn't suggest you do anything other than be cautious, ask questions and obviously minimize the high carb choices.
If you can, try to influence that type of restaurant that is chosen. Eliminate the obvious. A steakhouse may be a better choice than a French establishment specializing in cream sauces. A seafood shack just may be more suitable than a pasta house. A casual, local establishment may be more flexible than a chain group. And so on.
Planning ahead can equip you with information that will prove helpful when you order. Go online and check the restaurant's website. Most have them now and include the menu. This gives you a great opportunity to little determine what you will order in advance and having an accurate sense of the total carb intake to expect. If they do not have an online menu, call them. Tell them you are on a low carb weight loss program and would like to speak to someone who could provide suggestions in advance of arriving.
If neither of these approaches are successful, prepare yourself for an on the spot savvy ordering experience.
Once settled into your seat, immediately speak up to the server and let them know of your dieting situation. Ask for their assistance and leverage their experience. Chances are they have dealt with this before and will have appropriate suggestions for you to consider. Also, lean on the chef. Most truly enjoy the challenge of adjusting their service to the needs of their customers. This is particularly true of smaller, local restaurants verse chains. They are usually in a competitive battle for return customers and are more sensitive to the varied dietary requirements today's clientele.
In general, the following are tips that will help you enjoy your experience without faltering too badly:
Stay away from most appetizers. Most are carb laden and are specifically design to increase your appetite not lessen it, hence the term appetizers! The most obvious culprits are the pre-requisite bread stick with oil. Who amongst us can eat just one of these? The word "crispy" should set off alarms. Short of the chef using grated cheese for the coating, you can bet that bread crumbs are used. Most entrées include some form of potato side dish. The main course may be very low carb friendly but the side will do you in. Simply tell the server that you do not wish a potato side but would appreciate additional vegetables or ask for suggestions for an acceptable alternative. As mentioned earlier, beef, chicken, seafood are best choices and are readily available in most restaurants. Be aware that if sauces or other types of toppings are used, carbs will undoubtedly be lurking. Ask for these toppings to be served separately, providing you with the option to add as you wish. Watch your alcohol intake for two reasons:
Alcohol intake, even in small amounts, reduces inhibitions and sets the stage for you to be less defensive when it comes to appropriate meal choices. Alcohol, in itself and in most cases, is not an issue with respect to carb count. The type of alcohol and how it is mixed can have an immense affect on carb count though. Just check the carbs in most beers compared to vodka. Compare a whiskey on the rocks verse a blended margarita.
You have been warned.
It would be very easy to say that you must stay away from desserts but, remember that we did suggest that you should consider this trip to a restaurant as a reward of sorts. Now, I am not suggesting that you dive into a triple chocolate cake, nor are we suggesting that you skip dessert all together. Indulge but with control. Enough said about that.
With a little planning, forethought and keeping these in mind, you should be able to enjoy your trip. You will see very little impact on your low carb weight loss efforts at all but have a wonderful time with your friend.
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