Rule the restaurant: Tips for eating out on the Fast Metabolism Diet
Cooking for yourself is one of the best ways to improve your health, your metabolism, and your stress level. My love of food and cooking led me down this path towards my philosophy that food is medicine. But dining out is a part of life, just like weddings, business conferences and birthdays. Eating out on the Fast Metabolism Diet might seem like a minefield of temptation or sabotage. But with some strategizing and sharing your new metabolism “truths,” you can enjoy your meal and still stick to the diet. Here are my best tips:
Use the Internet
- If you know where you’re going to be eating, check out the restaurant’s menu online beforehand. It’s a lot less pressure to scope out the choices at home than with a waiter breathing down your neck. Match up meals with the foods on the Fast Metabolism Diet Phases to decide in advance which comes closest.
- Decide what to order before you sit down. By setting your mind on the best choice before you get to the restaurant, you avoid making last-minute blunders.
- If the restaurant that’s been chosen has very few options for you, do a web search to find nearby alternatives.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, check out the nearby restaurant choices online. I also call ahead and ask to have the mini-bar cleaned out or ask for a small fridge to be brought in. Then I hit the local health-food store when I get to town.
For catered events
If you’re headed to a business meeting or wedding, the menu has already likely been planned. But you can still make good choices.
- Call the caterer. In hotels and resorts, the staff is used to accommodating people with differing dietary needs or allergies. Call the catering department several days in advance and inquire about the menu. Explain that you have some dietary restrictions and ask how they can work with you. Most will be happy to provide veggies and meats without butter or oil and wheat-free options. If they agree to make you a special meal, call to confirm the day before the event. Sharing the reasons why you’re asking for these changes can help get them invested in helping you.
- For events with buffets, scope out the WHOLE buffet first without picking up a plate. Decide on the best options. Then make your way through the line.
- Bring your own salad dressing. It might seem crazy, but salad dressings are often the worst offenders when it comes to sugar. Bring a small container of your own, or ask for Balsamic vinegar — not vinaigrette (the “ette” part usually means a ton of sugar).
- Bring a crash stash. You’ll probably be at this type of event for a long time, so bring phase-appropriate snacks to keep from grazing at the dessert table.
Be nice and ask lots of questions
It’s okay to ask questions at a restaurant — it’s your meal, after all! So don’t be shy. I have a client who actually made up little business cards that said “I cannot have dairy, wheat, corn, soy…” etc. She hands one to the waiter before they order, saving her from explaining a lot out loud.
- Explain to the waiter that you have some dietary restrictions and ask for his/her help.
- How are items prepared? Can they be made without sauces/butter/oil?
- Ask for veggies on the side instead of potatoes.
- Skip the bread basket. Ask the waiter to take it away, or at least keep it at the end of the table. Or better yet, not bring it in the first place.
Carry some key extras
- Flavored stevia. I love the lime or Valencia orange. Add them to bubbly water or herbal iced tea. Now you have gluten-free, any-phase version of the metabolism killer Crystal Light (I really pray you guys don’t even know what Crystal Light is).
- I bring Tamari packets when I eat out. They’re great to flavor a baked fish or sprinkle on veggies or a salad with lemon and lime juice. You can buy the little packets at Amazon.com.
- Hot herbal tea is another restaurant favorite for me. I bring chocolate Smooth Move tea, or peppermint and raspberry and flavor it with my stevia. Then I just ask for hot water and I have never been charged for it. This gets me through those times when everyone in my party is ordering dessert. No, it isn’t tiramisu, but I feel like I have something to do while I am repairing my sluggish metabolism.
- Another trick is Stevita Cinnamon Gum. Cinnamon is a vasodilator, stimulating the “feel full” hormones to get to your brain faster and it really helps to stabilize blood sugars. This is a must for my diabetic, dysglycemic, PCOS and insulin-resistant clients. Again it is gluten free and has zero glycemic value. As long as you don’t smack your gum when you chew pop two pieces in your mouth after dinner or lunch and you will be amazed at how satisfied you feel.
I travel with a lot of my clients and believe it or not, I often travel with a bottle of spring water when we are out to eat. Many restaurants don’t care if you bring your own (the high-end ones not so much because they are all set to charge you a small fortune for either “Flat or bubbly” water). Funny thing, though, the super high-end places (the ones with no prices on the menu where you pray you won’t be going dutch at the end of the night) will let you bring in anything. I brought a watermelon the other night because I was traveling with someone who had severe allergies. Really, you can snake charm the manager into most requests if you ask with a smile!