Jenna: Navigating Restaurants

I really enjoy food, especially dining out. Philadelphia has arguably one of the best restaurant scenes in the country! It’s not rocket science that dining out can lead to making not so healthy choices. However, everyone indulges every now and then. I refuse to stop eating pizza and drinking beer; it just isn’t going to happen. If this keeps me from a six pack, so be it.

I just want to be sure that pizza (and similarly high fat/carb foods) don’t become a large part of my diet, because when this happens I feel like crap. I also have some health issues (I’ll get to blogging about that at some point) that require me to watch my sodium intake so a lot of delicious foods are not a good idea on a regular basis.

Like most things in life, for me its all about balance and moderation. If I decide to order the Tex Mex Hot Dog, I be sure I drink a ton of water and get to bed at a decent time so I can get up and burn a few of those calories off. Will lots of PBR follow that Tex Mex Dog once in a while? Sure. But once again, this is not a weekly thing any more. It can’t be if I want to continue to feel as good as I do. Here’s a few things I do to try to keep things in balance. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, because I’m more certain that there are a few missing.

Go big or go home…once in a while. 

Get the bacon cheeseburger. Or the truffle mac and cheese. Or the truffle pecorino pizza. Or the truffle oil french fries (I am sensing a theme here…sorry, I just started drooling on my keyboard.) If you want to have a night out, get what you want. Just don’t make it a ritual, or tie it to stress. Celebrate the fact that you are lucky enough to be out eating. Savor and enjoy!

Don’t waste calories. 

I try to make sure I don’t waste calories on things like soda or a bread basket when its not extra delicious. I’m also more of a savory person so I tend to skip dessert and spend my calories on a cocktail or extra cheese.

Make a schedule and balance it. 

If work demands that you eat out three or four times in one week, be sure all of these meals don’t fall into the “Go big or go home” category. Also, if I am scheduled about my meals out I can preview menus before hand and know what I am going to get before I even arrive. It’s a lot easier to decide on a healthier option at my computer ahead of time, then be tempted my the menu and appetizers while I am sitting there.

Portion control. 

This one is huge (pun intended). I have literally eaten 4 meals off of one of my favorite brunch entrees. It’s insane how much food you get while dining out. For example, here’s a picture of what was LEFT AFTER I ate Chipotle last.


It was a busy day, and the other part was lunch. What you see here was dinner. I ate until I was full and satisfied, then put down the deliciousness.

What are some of the ways you navigate restaurants and eating out? I know there are more tips out there!

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