Tasty Tuesday – I Never Thought I’d Say This But…

I missed eating healthy.

It’s something I never thought would really run through my mind because I love food and I enjoy indulging whenever I can. However, after a weekend of eating nothing but crap (delicious crap but still crap) I woke up Monday morning relieved that I would be getting back to my regular breakfast of fruit and cottage cheese… with a side of exam cramming.

Back to the real world of healthy eating and study sessions today.

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What brought on this unusual thinking was the little road trip down to Niagara Falls we took this weekend for some cross-border shopping and a little bit of an adventure for my dad’s birthday. It was rainy all weekend but we still made the most of it and had a lot of fun. We also ate out a lot. Friday night we stopped in to my old university haunt in St Catharines for pizza and wings, Saturday mom and I ran to the farmer’s market to get our fill of our favourite samosas from Bea Gonfa for breakfast while lunch was at The Cheesecake Factory and dinner was at The Keg.

Despite the fact that it was an entire weekend of eating out, I still think I conquered. I handled things a lot better than I would have previously where I would have just continued to eat until I was basically ill. I consider this a triumph, even if it was an entirely healthy weekend. I applied new strategies and since they worked out so well I thought I would share.

So here are some things I did to manage through a full weekend of eating out:

Choosing to be healthy for part of the day – This was mainly relevant for Friday where I ate very light meals for breakfast and lunch, only taking in about 500 calories between the two meals. I stocked up on fruits and veggies and nibbled (okay, munched) on some jerky in the car ride to remain full until our late dinner of pizza and wings.

Sharing most of the food I ate – Mom and I planned to do this well before we were actually on the trip. From the pizza and wings on Friday to actually splitting a full order of prime rib from the Keg we helped each other cut down a bit by splitting things. We also shared our piece of cheesecake for dessert which was a must-do since it was more than my usual calorie intake for a whole day! It was delicious though.

Ordering small plates – In addition to sharing, I tried to make sure I wasn’t ordering too much. This was easy at breakfast on Sunday morning where it was an all-you-can-eat buffet and I managed to keep myself to one plate that I didn’t even finish. It also worked well at The Cheesecake Factory where mom and I shared appetizers instead of getting a full meal. In the end, we even shared the delicious cheese and chicken stuffed fingers with the whole table so I didn’t consume quite as much as I would have had I ordered a full meal with sides.

Quitting once I was full, not once the plate was cleared – This is a lesson I’ve been trying to learn for a long time but it really goes against more longterm lessons of not wasting food that have been instilled in me. I hate throwing food out but the fact is that most restaurant portions, especially in the United States, are way too big. You just don’t need all that food. With that in mind there was actually only one meal where I ate everything that was given to me and that was my split meal at the keg (half a baked potato, half a salad, and half a prime rib). When it came to pizza I stopped after two slices and reluctantly gave away the others to Matt, I did the same with some of my Buffalo Blasts, and mom and I didn’t even finish our slice of cheesecake. To be fair, I think they cut the slices way too big and they’re way too rich to actually finish but still, we didn’t shovel it down just because it was there. Lastly, that all-you-can-eat breakfast I mentioned involved one loaded plate but in the end I think I left one third of it untouched.

Indulging in skinny options – I really only did this once but I still think it’s a good strategy to keep in mind. The Cheesecake Factory has a skinnylicious menu which involves items with lower calorie counts including appetizers, meals, desserts, and drinks. Mom ordered the crab bites off this menu and I ordered a skinny long island iced tea. These were still items that we would consider indulgences but they weren’t quite as bad as other things on the menu.

Only eating when I was hungry – This one came into play on Sunday when we ventured to Niagara-on-the-Lake which has a beautiful little downtown full of shops. Many jokes about the Shaw vs. the Stratford festival were made (you can read about my mishap here if you haven’t already) and the sun finally came out to let us enjoy a little waltz around the block. There are a number of shops with delicious treats but after breakfast at the hotel I just wasn’t hungry. Mom offered to buy me a tart or something but I turned it down, there just wasn’t any reason to be stuffing my face. Instead, I just enjoyed the view.

So there we are, six points on how to make the most out of eating out a little more than you would like. I really enjoyed the food that I had this weekend for the most part but my body was definitely suffering. I felt weighted down, bloated, and a little lethargic. On Monday I jumped right back into my regular healthy eating, went out for a walk in the sunshine and I’m already feeling much better. Perhaps this is the first sign that these changes I’ve been making are actually going to stick.

(Sorry this is a day late, I know it’s not Tuesday anymore but between my exam and a night out at the theatre I completely forgot to post this. Just pretend we’ve hopped in the Tardis and went back a day)

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