Navigating A Night Out

Anne Rollins MS CSSD RD LDN

Summer is full of beach days, get-togethers and perhaps a bit more eating and drinking than usual.  This week I had a few extras: hours at work, extra days of work, a few extra hours on customer service calls, and a few extra hours of training, and the few extra added up.  After my long run yesterday, I sent out the ‘who’s available tonight because I’ll not be able to manage much more than sitting around chatting’ text, (and that may be weird and challenging by myself).

I have great friends who I met at a local restaurant, and who had prior to my arrival, ordered the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten.  Truthfully, this could have been anything since I had just finished a long run, but this was really, really good.   A fancy Philly Cheesesteak Taquito with horseradish sauce.  The beauty here, is that I didn’t order this dish, and was handed only the last few bites immediately upon arriving.  This is a great strategy that allows you to enjoy a dish that is a little less than healthy.   I should also add that we were in a scratch kitchen restaurant, so a taquito while still some type of fried yumminess, is way better than a taco shell from chain restaurant.

I ordered my favorite summer cocktail, Gin and Tonic with lime, and a basket of Truffle Fries to start.  I don’t have many rules in my life, but one is that if I am somewhere and they have Truffle Fries on the menu, I must ordered them.  Needing a few extra carbs post run, this was a win:win.  A bit about the cocktail.  I avoid drinks with sugary mixers because this add so many extra calories I don’t need, and I also find that I don’t feel so great the next day and not from excessive alcohol.  The metabolism of sugars from alcohol combined with sugars in juices and whatever else in in the mixer does not sit well with me.  So, I’ll choose tonic (some sugar), soda or on the rocks.  And, don’t let that bar fruit be a garnish! A squeeze of lime provides some Vitamin C.  Additionally, there is some solid lore that you should not drop your bar fruit into your drink, because who knows wear that fruit has been.

I shared the fries with everyone so not to over do it, (full disclosure, I ate most of them) and then noticed that a salad on the specials was sourced from a local farm.  I couldn’t say no, even though this may not have been my first choice.  The salad was a Blueberry Goat Cheese Salad that included candied pecans and radishes.  The radishes and the greens were from a farm in my town, and since we were not in my town, I was even more obliged.  I don’t eat much dairy, but if I do, I will have a non-cow product. 

My meal had been pretty light, but perfect for chatting with the girls and leaving room for a few bites for dessert.  Fortunately, the Honey Caramel Cheesecake was incredibly popular and had sold out, because I’m not quite sure I could’ve shared that offering very well.  The choices were narrowed down to a chocolate brownie a la mode sundae creation, and a berry mascarpone cream over blueberry ricotta cake combo.  The final choice was left to me, and I went berries.  Again, we all shared, and while the dessert was heavenly, a few bites remained. Feeling compelled to finish dessert is common, but a few bites of something sweet after your meal can sometimes be all you need to hit the spot.  Move on with some great conversation, and some water, tough as it may be. To be clear, this was no fruit salad because berries were involved. No justifying this. This is absolutely a calorically dense, sugary treat. Going out to eat can be challenging trying to find something that doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and guilt ridden.  Enjoy your choices of food, and while I indefinitely love food, I love the company of my friends and family more.  Place more importance on the people you are sharing the meal with, and take some of the pressure off the food.  Including the social aspect to your meal can be just as important as the foods you choose.

Oh, and the minute I start photographing my food the conversation usually turns toward nutrition. Intermittent Fasting was brought up (and not by me!) and I got to hear about what some folks are thinking and adding some new twists on an age old eating pattern. We are doing lots of investigating on the IF craze and the IF Challenge starts for us on August 1. Definitely not for everyone, our challenge is designed to help people walk through IF and see if IF would be beneficial for them, most importantly with some guidance and support on principles and how to implement them. Woohoo! Challenge!

Summary of Tips

  • Eat/taste your friend’s indulgences
  • Order what you love
  • Enjoy your company more than the food

Happy Dining Out!

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