One of the very depressing aspects of the Covid lock down was not being to go out to eat at restaurants. The average American eats out 4-5 times a week. The average household spends over $3000 a year on eating out and I would bet that the Northern VA./D.C./Maryland stats are lots higher. Between dual working households, post-school activities and our desire to kick back on the weekends, there are probably many more than 4-5 breakfasts, lunches or dinners being procured from restaurants.
So, given our proclivity for eating at restaurants or doing carryout, what are the best type of restaurants for us to focus on if we are in a weight control effort?
Well, pretty much every restaurant will offer some dishes focused on protein and vegetables. However, let’s look at specific types of restaurants: Mexican or “Tex-Mex” restaurants are often sought out because of the great chips, salsa and wonderful drinks they offer up. Then, most of the dishes that tempt us are often wrapped in high carb doughs and shells. These are difficult types of restaurants to frequent while on a weight control journey.
Fast food places? Nope…not a good idea either. McDonalds is not even offering salads anymore. And no, having the burgers and taking the buns off are still not a great choice. IHOP? Even they boast adding pancake batter to their omelettes and their side offering of pancakes (and syrup of course) do not exactly constitute a SP-compatible approach.
Italian style restaurants? The allure of the brick oven pizza, bread basket with oil placed on the table and pasta dishes may make these places a bit challenging as well.
Meat and seafood restaurants? Probably the best choice as those types of restaurants will offer a bunch of protein dishes, a variety of vegetables and not tempt you with as many carb laden dishes as the venues mentioned earlier. The good old diner will do the same.
The bottom line: Eating out (or taking carry out) is very compatible with your weight control efforts but try to set yourself up for success by choosing the right types of restaurants that will offer a bunch of choices conducive to the high protein/low carb approach.