It's no secret that New Yorkers (and many other social savvy urbanites) love happy hours and fine dining. Restaurants, bars and the occasional cocktail or three are simply a part of living in a thriving city.
While there's no harm in enjoying a night out on the town, Laura Cipullo-a Registered Dietitian and Zeel Expert in private practice in Manhattan-explains that she often works with clients who find it difficult to manage their weight when surrounded by drink specials and indulgence.
"In the city," says Laura, "people tend to be extreme, either overdoing it with excess drinks and food or restricting it altogether." Balancing the two is key. Read on to learn Laura's six secrets to staying social, slender and most importantly, satisfied.
1. Start the day off right. If you have evening plans, make sure to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and a sensible snack before going out. That way, you'll be more likely to keep your smart eating streak going through dinner. (Plus, if you do order the chocolate soufflé, you won't feel as guilty. Hey, it happens!)
2. If possible, be patient. Wait to order that gin and tonic until your meal arrives. Drinking on an empty stomach causes a much stronger buzz, which often results in unhealthy decisions (such as finishing off the contents of the bread basket by yourself).
3. Make substitutions. Modify your meal as you see fit. When ordering a main course, substitute vegetables for starches. If you opt for a salad, ask for the dressing and cheese on the side. Avoid restaurants that don't allow substitutions, since they may be preparing their food in advance. Remember that you decide what goes into your food and body-not your waiter.
4. Slow, steady and slim. If it's a multiple drink sort of evening, pace yourself. Alcohol disrupts self-control and leads to unconscious eating. Sip slowly, and you might avoid chomping on that extra handful of bar nuts.
5. A moderate menu. When dining out, fill your plate with the three major macronutrients-a protein, whole grain and healthy fat. An example of this would be grilled fish and sautéed vegetables (ideally, the veggies would be cooked with extra virgin olive oil-a healthy fat) and a whole grain carbohydrate like a slice of whole wheat bread or a side of brown rice.
6. Change it up. If you eat out three times a week, make nutritious dietary choices on the other nights. If you dine out on Thursday, be sure to cook yourself a simple, wholesome meal on Friday. (Heating up takeout food doesn't count!)
For personalized nutrition counseling and dietary advice, book an appointment with Laura through Zeel.