Want to go to lunch?

Deadly words for me to hear.  Of course I want to go to lunch.  And dinner, and our for coffee, and snacks and whatever!

One of the ways that I have been able to lose weight is to control what I eat and how much I eat at a sitting.  The way that I found that works best for me is to eat something that has a known amount of calories…because I simply am too lazy to pre-measure and pre-weigh every thing that I eat.  It is far easier for me to buy a pre-packaged salad that has the USDA Food label on it.  These labels give you the ingredients, the nutritional values of the ingredients and most important for me, the calorie count.

If I am going to be truthful here, I also have to say that although I could prepare my own salads in advance, there is no way that I would be strict on portion size.  The pre packaged salads take away the opportunity for a little dishonesty.

So, where do I get my lunch time staples?  Trader Joe’s rides to the rescue for me.  Luckily I live in an area that has 4 to choose from, so I am never really too far from one and I could just pop into one to pick a salad for lunch…but I don’t do it that way because Trader Joe’s is also a dangerous place to go into…they have far too many interesting items to eat.  I don’t dare go in unless I have already eaten and I have my shopping list in hand.

They have salads that should satisfy almost any palate and they have them from 120 calories up to about 600.  They have them with meat and without, with lot’s of extras like eggs, fruit and veggies, and they have plain spinach salads too.

If you do go there to buy them try buying 3 days worth at a time (minimizing trips and temptations) but be sure to watch the expiration dates.  Sometimes you have to dig to find ones that don’t expire for a few days.

Oddly enough, you can also find good salads at some of the fast food joints.  Just don’t fall victim to the lure of french fries and other high calorie low food value items.

Part of my morning ritual is to pack my lunch cooler with a salad, napkin and fork.  I have learned to enjoy just eating salads for lunch and because of that fact and the fact that I have my lunch with me I am able to withstand the pressure to accept one of those lunch invitations.

But, what if you HAVE to go to lunch?  Stick with your plan.  Have a salad!  Ask about portion size when you talk with the server at the restaurant.  There is nothing wrong in asking for a smaller portion if they serve mondo size plates.  You could also ask them to bring a to go box with your order (not after) so that you can divide the portion in two as soon as it arrives and save the extra for tomorrow.  An be sure to get the dressing on the side.  Dip your fork ever so slightly in the dressing before spearing some of the salad and you will save a ton of calories.

And by the way, skip the bread.  If you are like me you’ll eat all the bread in the basket before your entree arrives and you’ll effectively double your caloric intake.

I hope that you have started on your weight loss plan.  I really do.

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