Day 5

What to Expect:

“Okay, I’m getting the hang of this!”

You may experience: Fewer headaches and fewer cravings, or struggles with temptation and slipups if you’re unprepared and hunger sets in.

Your best bet: Remember what got you off on the right foot in the first place: preparation! You were right on in getting food ready, having healthy snacks on hand, and planning meals, and now you may need to revisit that preparation. Or, as the weekend approaches, follow the tips in today’s lesson to get ready for dining out for the first time.

Today's Lesson:

Dining out on the 21DSD

Things may seem to be going really smoothly now, until you start thinking about the weekend and how you may not be eating at home for a change! Here are some tips to keep you on track when dining out, 21DSD-style!

  1. Know before you go! Preview the restaurant’s menu online before you go. While some restaurants are slow to update their website as the menu changes, most are fairly consistent and, even if the menu has changed, will have something you can easily select after your preview. This is also a great time to read reviews from other diners on a site like Yelp, OpenTable, or TripAdvisor to see how accommodating a restaurant may be to making requested modifications to a dish.
  2. Don’t arrive starving. Before you head out the door, eat a small snack of some nuts or nut butter, half of an avocado, or some leftover protein.
  3. Pass on the bread basket. If your companions are eating bread and the temptation gets to be too much, ask for sliced veggies or olives to nibble on.
  4. Skip the appetizers or opt for a salad starter. It’s often tough to find 21DSD-friendly appetizers, though there are some! Antipasto, oysters, shrimp cocktail, and chicken skewers may work, but you’re better off focusing on your main dish. If your friends are getting apps and you want to start eating at the same time, order a green salad with olive oil and lemon or vinegar as a dressing. Remember that a lot of premade salad dressings contain not only sugars but unhealthy oils—stick to olive oil!
  5. Ask questions about entrées. While finger food is often breaded, fried, or otherwise carb-loaded, entrées made of simpler ingredients can be easy to find. Look for grilled, broiled, or baked options, which are usually safer bets for 21DSD dining. But ask the server for details on how things are prepared; they’re used to questions! Be polite, but get the answers you need.
  6. Make substitutions. If a meal comes with french fries, bread, or pasta, ask that the kitchen leave it off of the plate, or substitute some vegetables or a baked potato or sweet potato (if your 21DSD Plate* calls for it) instead.

The Dish from Diane:

Dining out may initially seem daunting on the 21DSD, but it’s an amazing opportunity! What I love about having three full weeks on this program is that you’ll inevitably be faced with normal life circumstances, like dining out, and you’ll learn a new way to navigate them. This is one big reason why this program isn’t much shorter—so that you don’t simply have “a way to eat while on the 21DSD,” but you learn and become used to making healthier choices for the long term. So use your dining-out experience as a time to learn. If you’re headed to a restaurant you go to often, it’s a great time to reevaluate your old favorites—find a new way to put a plate together by ordering something a bit more customized. If it’s a new place you’ve never been to before, use the tips from today to get on the right path.

Today's Checklist:

  • Review the Dining Out Guide*. This will give you the heads-up on some easy 21DSD choices in several types of cuisines.
  • Post to social media using the hashtag #21DSD about your day 5 meals and experience. If you dined out, show us what you picked from the menu!

A common stumbling block is worrying about eating an off-program food or ingredient by accident at a restaurant. Sometimes ingredients sneak into sauces or dressings, or even soups, stews, and so on. If you think you may have inadvertently eaten something off-plan, just keep moving forward. If you made a conscious choice to go off-plan, that’s another story, and we’ll address that another day.

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