How to Manage Eating at Restaurants and Parties

Eating at a restaurant or attending a party or other event where there's food (which is pretty much EVERY event, right?) doesn't have to be anxiety-inducing or cause you to be the crazed lunatic carrying your personal food wherever you go. Here are a few simple, real world tips to help you.

1. Check the menu in advance. Many restaurants now list their menus, including ingredients and nutrition information, online. Having a good idea of what you want before you go makes things less stressful. Of course, you might not be able to get an advance peak at the menu for a party, especially if its pot luck, but if you know the host very well you could ask a few strategic questions.

2. If you're attending a pot luck party, make sure your contribution is something that fits with your nutrition plan and something you like. Then you know there will be at least one thing for you!

3. Think about your drinks. Certainly indulge in a good glass of wine or a fancy drink if its a celebration but make sure you drink some water too. You want to be able to enjoy the great food so don't fill up on liquid calories.

4. Get your veggies. Start your restaurant meal with a salad and if you can choose the sides for your meal make sure to pick a vegetable...and no, french fries don't count! If you're at a party, hit the vegetable tray first.

5. Enjoy yourself!! There are lots of additional little tips I could tell you, like...dressing on the side, have the server remove the bread, pack a doggie bag right away, blah, blah, blah...

But honestly, if you're at a party or out to dinner, just relax and enjoy yourself. One meal is not going to make or break your overall fitness plan. One caveat: If you eat out A LOT then don't celebrate every time!