Friday, T.O.P.S. is having its Spring Awards Luncheon. This means we are going out to EAT. For a nutrition conscience group, this necessitates preparation, of course. Most of our members are in TOPS to lose weight. The others have diabetes or irritable bowel issues. The point is, going out to eat requires foresight. Here's my letter to all the members of TOPS 463.
The first thing to do is eat before you go. Too many people skip breakfast with the result being they're ravenous by the time its meal time. But these breakfast skippers say that eating breakfast makes them sick, or they have to take medication on any empty stomach. I hear them. But my answer to that is to eat as soon as you can. Don't eat a full meal the minute your eyes crack open. Wait a couple of hours and have some toast.
Since we are going out for lunch, I suggest eating an apple on the way. I'm just concerned that you'll make the wrong choices on the menu because everything will look good. And the menus will push diners to buy certain foods. Be aware. The upper right-hand corner is called the "sweet spot." That's because people seem to gravitate towards looking there, first. Or, menus might put all the expensive dishes together and one a little lower in price. (Guess which one they want you to buy.) People will choose the more reasonably priced. Restaurants also know that people choose things that are listed first or last. And of course, dishes that are highlighted, or in a box, or the speciality, get chosen more. Beware of combo meals. They look like a better value and money-wise it probably is but most people order it because it's a quicker decision. (If you didn't get the combo, you'd have to make three or more decisions--potato, vegetable, meat.). If it weren't included in the combo, would you order the fries?
If you can, copy Lillian, our chapter Queen. Watch the first thing she does when her meal arrives. She will divide it in half--to bring home and eat later. This is something we all need to strive to do. Restaurants serve us too big a meal and too many calories than we can burn. And it's just automatic that we eat it all and clean our plates. Also, because we're among friends we talk while we eat. This is good, but also, we're not paying attention to our eating. Since we are all in TOPS, encourage each other to slow down and enjoy the food and the companionship.
The first thing to do when the waitress approaches is order water. And drink as much of it as you are able. Refuse the bread, IF you can. Save your appetite for the main meal and eat your bread with it. Be alert to NOT mimic. If your companion says the bread is her favorite part of the meal and dives into a couple of rolls, don't copy her (Even if she purrs with pleasure.) People are generally not aware of their mimicking behavior, but we all do it. It's part of being social and fitting in. If your companion orders a drink, most people will also order one. Or a desert. Or a side order of onion rings (Of course you'll be offered to share in the order, they're so-o-o tasty.)
Think. You do know you can ask for substitutes. Instead of french fries, order another vegetable. If you order dessert, share it with your companion, i.e., one dessert with two spoons, please.
Keep in mind the time of day. You are going to have supper later. No? This is going to be your main meal? Ha! Who do you think you're kidding?