September 6th, 2009 8:05 AM by Lehel Szucs
Watch Your Waistline -- 5 Tips for Eating Out This Father's Day - By Sean Barker, CPT
Think twice about heading to the "all you can eat" buffet this Father's Day as you may be putting your waistline at risk!
Follow these 5 simple tips to eating healthy while enjoying Dad's day out.
1. Never go to a restaurant starving! You are setting yourself up for failure right from the start. Have a quick snack before you go if at all possible. A piece of fruit, some mixed nuts, or a protein shake will help satisfy you without filling you up so you can enjoy your meal. If you are really stuck, just grab a bottle of water on the way and drink it before you arrive. This alone will help you avoid ordering the entire menu. If your family is taking you to your favorite spot that you are familiar with and you are really hungry and in a rush, avoid looking at the menu altogether and tell the waiter what you want as soon as they come to your table. This way you won't cave in to all the gut-busting choices on the menu while you try to ignore your growling stomach.
2. Once you arrive and sit down at your table, skip the bread and alcohol. There is a reason they serve you this before your meal. It's because it has been proven in studies that bread and alcohol stimulate your appetite. The biological reason behind this is your body needs food to absorb the alcohol so you don't get alcohol poisoning. But if you're anything like me -- you still enjoy an ice cold beer or a vintage wine -- and you really want a drink, stick to one glass of wine or one light beer without the bread and have it in place of an appetizer.
3. When looking at the menu, remember that you don't have to order something exactly as it's shown. This is your day, and you (or hopefully your family) are paying for the food, so don't be afraid to ask for certain dishes with or without certain ingredients. Even if you do opt for the carb-laden pasta, ask for whole wheat pasta to sneak in a little extra fiber and avoid the blood sugar crash of refined flour. Always remember to ask how large the serving sizes are because most times the "single" portions these days are enough for two or more!
4. You don't have to be a nutritionist to know you should stay away from the obvious food choices that are breaded, battered, or deep fried. Trans-fats are not the new villains in this summer's new "Transformers" movie; they are deadly lab-created forms of fats that are foreign to your body's natural chemistry and wreck havoc on our hearts and our health. Also be wary of any dishes smothered and baked in creamy sauces. Just remember to ask how the dish is prepared.
5. Go for any lean protein source such as beef, chicken, pork, or fish. Nothing beats lean cuts of muscle-building meat seared over a hot flame. Pair it with any side dish like a green salad or fresh grilled veggies. Think protein and fats for your meal and avoid the processed carbs unless you are running a marathon the next day.
Take the time to relax and eat slow, have some good conversation with others, and learn to enjoy the whole dining out experience instead of just focusing on filling your gut.
And if it's a special occasion like Father's Day and you do want to treat yourself, go ahead and enjoy it and get back to your healthy habits the very next meal...
...because the stress from "food guilt" just might be worse than the food itself.
About the Author: Sean Barker is a busy dad who finds time for family, fun, and fitness. He works as a heavy equipment operator working long 12-hour shifts of dayshifts AND nightshifts, up to 84 hours a week. He is ALSO a nationally certified personal trainer who runs his own fitness business and has a passion for helping others. But more importantly, Sean is a proud father and loving husband. Visit http://www.dadfitness.com
Sean, a busy dad fitness expert, is giving away a cool new workout program that can be done at home. Get your FREE workout here.