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Tidbits & Advice

The Comprehensive Guide to Dining Out and Staying True to this WOE
(Sarah - stormy_chica)

You can dine out and stay true to this WOE. Trust me. I don't know anyone who goes to restaurants more often than I do. I hope this will help you. Whatever you do, don't be scared away from this WOE because you'll have to give up your favorite restaurants. You can eat (almost) anywhere and stick to the WOE. Just watch!

Italian
Mexican (Tex-Mex)
Chinese
Pizza
Fast Food
Soup & Salad
Southern Cooking
Barbeque
Steakhouse
Sandwiches
American
Breakfast

Am I missing a restaurant type? Do you have a tip you'd like to share? Contact me on the message board here: http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-fbcad and I'll add it.

Italian

CM

  • Can't go wrong with the chicken ceasar salad, hold the croutons
  • If you're sick of ceasar, some Italian places offer other great no carb salads, just be very careful about all of the ingredients (it's amazing how many places will try to sneak carrots on your salads)
  • Pass on the free bread when the server offers it. But, if you are with people who want the bread, do your best to ignore it. What usually works for me is putting my napkin sculpture or drink in between me and the bread. What you cannot see cannot hurt you. Plus, the more you stare at the bread, the more you want it, and the more you try to rationalize taking some. Don't fall into that trap - just hide it.

    RM

  • Italian places, in my opinion, like to rip you off by giving you a ton of the cheap stuff (pasta) and not enough of the good stuff (meat, veggies, etc) in all of their dishes. If you order a pasta dish, ask for half the pasta. And if you have a really good server, try asking for double the goodies and half the pasta, but that's pretty rare.
  • Always pay a little extra and order the side salad with your meal. Unfortunately, that's about the only vegetable you'll find in an Italian place in large quantities.
  • Try looking for a dish that has some carb-friendly veggies in it. It will add at least a little bit to your veggie portion with the salad, and that is always good.
  • There are usually good chicken/meat dishes, so go for those instead of the pasta dishes. Sure, they are a couple bucks more, but usually well worth it - and fill you up more in the process.

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Mexican

CM

  • About the only thing I can come up with is the Taco Salad, but be very careful about the ingredients. No beans, carrots, guacamole, or tortilla stips allowed. Also halve the amount of tomatoes, pico de gallo, or onions or get rid of them altogether.
  • Resist the chips with the same method I mentioned above with the bread at Italian restaurants - hide them!

    RM

  • Be very careful with the chips and salsa. It's amazing how quickly those things disappear - and how quickly they get refilled. If you cannot just ask the server not to bring them, then try my method. Drink a sip of water in between each and every chip you eat! It really slows you down and makes you think about how many you have had.
  • The best thing to order is the taco salad, or something like it. You don't have to be as picky about ingredients with the RM, but still try to keep it balanced.
  • If you cannot resist the enchiladas/fajitas, try the veggie filled version. You might be surprised at how good it is.
  • Hold the rice & beans if at all possible. They are so tempting if they are just sitting there on your plate, so just ask to have them excluded.
  • Add a side salad to the enchiladas/fajitas you cannot resist, and ask for it before the meal. It takes up your chip consumption time.

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Chinese

CM

  • I am almost positive you cannot have a CM-friendly meal at a Chinese restaurant. This is because of the MSG (which acts like a carb) in everything, even if you order it no-msg.

    RM

  • Go for the buffet. This is the only way I can come even close to balancing the meal. Usually they offer some sort of green bean or mushroom dish that you can pile up on as you eat some of the meat and noodles around it. But remember that these veggies are usually covered in some sort of sauce which is likely carb-heavy, so it's difficult to balance.
  • Skip the rice. Does it really add that much to it?
  • Bring a salad with you if you can. It's so tough to balance here, that anything will help.

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Pizza

CM

  • Unless there is a salad bar or salad on the menu at a pizza place, pizza is obviously not CM-friendly

    RM

  • Always accompany the pizza with salad. My personal favorite is a pizza buffet. I get a salad between each helping, and make sure the portions match. You'd be surprised at how quickly you fill up. Be sure to have salad if you have pizza at home as well.
  • Don't eat the crust. It's just flavorless, unnecessary carbs.
  • If you are ordering and eating at home, add some grilled veggies or chicken wings to your meal to help balance out the carbs from the pizza.

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Fast Food

CM

  • Grab a burger or chicken sandwich and throw away the bun.
  • I could kiss Wendy's for introducing their salads. My fave is the Chicken BLT. BUT, make sure you get ranch dressing and not the honey mustard that comes with it. It has 11g carbs per serving and is wayyyyy too sweet for my tastes anyway. Pick off the tomatoes and throw out the croutons.
  • Subway lets you turn any sandwich into a salad, so do it. Again, watch the ingredients and the dressing. Oil and vinegar and ranch are usually safe bets.
  • Remember the McDonalds salad shakers as well.
  • Burger King and Chick-fil-a have chicken ceasar salads, which should be pretty good.

    RM

  • Salad, salad, salad. Most fast food joints do not offer good veggies, so this is your only veggie-balancing option.
  • If you get a sub-sandwich, burger, or chicken sandwich, tear off half the bread. The good stuff is in the middle anyway.
  • If you get fries, get the smallest they have. The more you eat, the more you want -- so don't eat very much!

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Soup & Salad

CM

  • Eat lots of salad. Change up the ingredients for variety. Usually the salad is at the front, so you don't even need to visit the rest of the restaurant.

    RM

  • Protein is the challenge here, so add egg, bacon, or those little ham cubes to your salad to help you out.
  • I use the same method as at the pizza buffet. Between every carb plate I have a plate of CM-friendly salad.

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Southern Cooking

CM

  • Grilled chicken breast, grilled fish dishes, and creamed spinach or salad. The menus from these places really vary, so you'll have to play it by ear.

    RM

  • Order the dishes above, but allow yourself some cornbread, green bean casserole, or even something fried. Just make sure to balance it all into the thirds. Again, you'll have to play it by ear as the menus are so varied.

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Barbeque

CM

  • Eat the meat sans the bbq sauce. It's just as good, especially if the meat is smoked. Chicken is a good bet as well.
  • I've seen places that do offer salad with some of their scrumptious meat inside. They might be rare, but they are out there.

    RM

  • Have your meat and bbq sauce, but be sure to balance with green beans or pickles and a salad. Coleslaw works, but there is usually sugar added, so don't totally count on it.

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Steakhouse

CM

  • Steak with limited sauce and salad or spinach or grean beans. It's a feast of a CM!
  • Skewers work as well, just make sure there is no potatoes, carrots, or pineapple included on the stick.

    RM

  • Steak, spinach, and potatoes with a salad is as balanced as you can get, and really easy. Skewers, green beans, and corn bread with a salad. The possibilities are endless!

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Sandwiches

CM

  • Pull out the insides and eat 'em. Who says you need bread to make a sandwich? If that is too messy for you, wrap the insides in two pieces of lettuce. Most places will give you those for free.
  • Subway will make any sandwich into a salad, so experiment. Watch out for the dressing and go for oil & vinegar or ranch.
  • Most places offer pre-packaged salads, but most all, except ceasar, have carrots in them. Either get the ceasar or get a magnifying glass and try to pick out all of the tricky carrots.

    RM

  • Eat only one side of the bread. Leave the side with the mustard or mayo on and throw away the other side. It's the insides of the sandwich that taste better anyway.
  • Most places offer a side salad, so grab it. Try to pick out the carrots, if you can.

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American

I don't really know what to call this category, but it's supposed to be all those chain restaurants like Chilis, Bennegans, Hard Rock Cafe, and TGIFridays that offer a large menu of plain jane food and large portions to boot.

CM

  • My personal favorite is the Chef's salad. Again, be picky about the ingredients. (I like to pretend I'm allergic to carrots. ;-)
  • Just peruse the menu thoroughly and don't be afraid to ask your server questions. You can usually find something to eat, it's the sides that cause a problem, so just leave them off, or split your meal with a friend and give them the sides.

    RM

  • Salads are again a good way to balance - or make the whole meal a salad.
  • Substitute the fries that come with it fo something a little better. Cottage cheese? Side salad? Coleslaw? Even fruit. It's amazing how they throw those fries at you - sometimes without you even knowing!
  • Avoid the appetizers if at all possible. They are always nothing but grease and carbs anyway. Really - they're not that good. And if the group orders them, avoid them by hiding them with your drink glass, or wait until everyone is done and take the last piece. Appetizers are evil - and expensive anyway! :)

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Breakfast

CM

  • Omelettes of every variety (watch the ingredients of course), eggs & bacon or sausage. My only problem with these places is the sides. There is never a single side that is CM-friendly.
  • Go ahead and try to sub a salad. You might get funny looks, but who cares.

    RM

  • If breakfast is your RM (and it's at least 15 hours since your last RM) just be careful of overdoing it. Try the staples I mention above for the CM and go ahead and have some sides. The temptation is to dig in and have the breakfasts like you used to (french toast, pancakes), but don't do it! This meal has to be balanced just like any other.
  • Omelettes are good because veggies are hard to come by at breakfast places. Try bringing a salad or ordering one too. Like I said, choose between funny looks and overwhelming carb cravings throughout the say.

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