I’m gonna get really real right now.
We’re college women. We’re busy studying, we’re lazy, we want an excuse to not have to cook… and we eat out. A lot. And when we do, it’s really easy to convince ourselves that we are eating healthy. (It’s one of the many skills we’ve mastered over the years.)
We’ve all been there: we’re out to dinner at our favorite Mexican place with the girls and, wanting to be healthy, we ordered a salad with chicken and used salsa as our dressing. We were so proud of ourselves, thinking we were Bethenny Frankel approved. But, of course, we didn’t factor in the margarita OR the basket of chips. “I only had a few,” we reason. “It must not count.”
But guess what? Every ten chips is 100 calories… and that is without the guac! And let’s face it, chips with out guac (and who stops at ten, BTW?!) is like Backstreet without the Boys. It just doesn’t work. Except guac (and only 1/4 cup of it) packs on another 100 calories. Sigh. Can’t a girl catch a break?
Short answer: yes.
Longer answer: There are ways to eat out, enjoy your favorite foods and still not feel like you just wasted a week at the gym.
My new favorite book, Urban Skinny, offers up tons of options and pointers for eating out. It’s chock full of dietary information so that you can come fully prepared (and fully aware) to a restaurant and know with certainty if that appetizer is REALLY worth it to you.
From 100 calorie add ons to calculated calories for your favorite appetizers, drinks, dishes and desserts, Urban Skinny eliminates all of the guess work. And once you’re appalled that just ONE cup of Orange Beef has 400-500 calories (I know!!), they offer 500 calorie quick picks that actually make my tummy grumble in delight. No “only order lettuce with lemon wedges” here.
Not to mention, the book goes into your best options for entrees, appetizers, drinks and desserts so you can calculate your own “best picks.”
Here are some great options that author Danielle Schupp, RD, suggests as 500 calorie meals at our favorite ethnic restaurants.
Vegetable salad with 2 tablespoons of non creamy dressing, 2 soft fish tacos with two tablespoons of guac and salsa.
1 margarita on the rocks, salad (use salsa as your dressing), 10-15 chips with 1/4 cup guac.
Green salad with two tablespoons of ginger dressing, 1 rainbow roll, 1 piece of salmon sushi and 1 piece of tuna sushi.
Green salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing, 1/2 cup edamame (shelled), 1 tuna roll and three pieces salmon sashimi.
Salad with aged balsamic and 1/2 order of lasagna.
Two slices of thin crust pizza (they run about 100-150 calories a slice) and a salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing.
1 cup hot and sour soup and a 1/2 order of chicken and mixed veggies in brown sauce or garlic sauce.
1 cup hot and sour soup paired with a 1/2 order of moo shoo chicken with 1 pancake and 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce.
1 cup pad Thai and a veggie salad with two tablespoons of dressing.
1 order chicken satay, 1 cup lemongrass soup, 2 chicken lettuce wraps.
Who said eating healthfully had to taste like rabbit food? Not Danielle Schupp, that’s for sure.