So many of us put on a few pounds during the summer.  There is just too many temptations with picnics, patios, bbqs and the desire to just go out and enjoy a nice meal.  How can one do all this and still manage their waistline?  It is doable, its not as easy as giving into all your temptations, but with a little effort and determination, making the right choices can actually lead to a fun “guilt free” summer night on the town.

Lets start with your cocktail dress…yes that’s right, its now or never, show off those legs that you have been squatting with at the gym, and make sure the dress is fitted to snug, that way from the moment you walk out the door, you are aware that there is no wiggle room and your desire for that dress to feel a little more lose will be a subconscious motivator.  Next, its time to pick the place and people you are with.  First the people that are joining you…I love get togethers, and I believe that connecting with people is one of those longevity secrets, good friends and family will lead to a happy you and that alone is priceless.  Make sure your company is a support vs sabotage group.  For the most part you cannot control this, but you can persuade them with you lingo as to whether they will support you are not.  For instance, if you are looking deprived and say no to all offerings, mentioning that forbidden “I can’t, I am on a diet” phrase, be ready for your friends to cheer you up with “oh, it’s just one night, enjoy your cake you only live once…”.  If however you are enjoying the company and your hands are full of healthy foods and drinks, there will be less peer pressure to eat on the dark side.

When it comes to the place you pick, start now scoping the area for neat little “organic, farm to table, vegan fresh” style bistro’s.  These will not necessarily be  low in fat, but they will provide a clean alternative and leave you with a feel good tummy.  If the alternative bistro is not available, aim for places that have the following low calorie high satisfaction foods:

  1. Oyster: oh how I love oysters, they are by far the lowest calorie high protein option.  1/2 dozen of oysters have less than 100 calories and are packed with nutrients like zinc – that’s the male libido boosting stuff – omega, iron, calcium and vitamin D.  Top with a little hot sauce and horseradish and you are adding more nutrients without the calories.  An oyster night can be a fun alternative to a full sit down meal, they are fun to eat, are always a conversation piece and taste great.
  2. Shrimp cocktail…sticking with fish, this is a great app or side protein to a salad.  Its hard for a restaurant to add any fat to shrimp cocktail, as they are best served on ice, so calorically what you see is what you get.  One shrimp cocktail dipped in sauce is roughly 20 calories, this is a great fact if appetizers are being passed around and you want to gage what goes in your mouth.
  3. Sushi night! First off, eat with the chop sticks, it’s more challenging and thus you will eat slower.  Secondly enjoy with miso soup and salad to start, these small servings combined are less than 200 calories, not to mention I am a fan of Miso as its a natural probiotic so it helps aid your digestion.  For a main, stay clear of the fried rolls that have tempura, or other batter, these types of sushi or rolls are 3 times higher in calories.  The lowest calories rolls are the cucumber and the avocado, six pieces are less than 200 calories, the traditional California roll is not to far behind with 250 calories for 6 pieces.
  4. You be the chef…want total control pick dishes that allow you to do the cooking or putting together.  A simple option is fajita’s at a road house restaurant, you control the portion and selection of toppings.  There are many cook your self style restaurants like Korean Bbqs, Tapenaki or dinner shows.  The foods may not always be the lowest in fat, but the preparation is part of the fun, and will be so entertaining that you can eat less and also chose what to eat.
  5. The last and most obvious is the salad, and I say this half heartedly…I cringe when a patient tells me that they ate a salad out for a series of reasons.  1 – a salad can be higher in fat than a burger and fries, so unless you know the caloric breakdown, assume the worst, 2- salads are the typical healthy option and red flags that you are on a diet, be ready for your company to talk you out of ordering it!

Enjoy a nice night out, and instead of indulging in food, enjoy the people, atmosphere, and great conversation.  You can do this!