I am still driving a bus down south…with American Study Abroad students. At this point I am probably wanting to throw pack a couple of glasses of the amazing wine in this region of Australia–but I can’t. I have to drive a bus.
Speaking of indulging…Amanda from Modernation has posted some AWESOME ways to eat out and save..money and inches from growing on your waist. Great tips. Thanks so much Amanda! ~M
Tips to Save Calories and Cash When Eating Out ~Amanda
Hi Everyone! My name is Amanda and I write the blog Modernation from all the way over in California. Modernation is all about my life and experiences, my love of food and fitness, and strategies for living a healthy and full life. A big thanks to Mish for thinking of me for a guest post this week.
I am a huge foodie. I love cooking meals for friends and family, but also enjoy going out to eat with friends. As fun as it is, eating out can take a toll on both your wallet and your weight if you aren’t careful. Today, with everyone trying to save a penny anyway we can while not sacrificing fun, taste, or nutrition, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for saving money and calories when eating out.
- Have friends over before you head to a restaurant for appetizers and a drink. Open a couple bottles of wine and provide a couple simple, healthy appetizers. This is a great way to spend some quality time with friends before heading out. If you have a regular dinner group, rotate whose house you meet up at. Or ask a couple people to bring wine and one or two to bring an appetizer.
- Order two appetizers instead of an entree. Or better yet, choose one entree and a side salad. Restaurant portions are so big now, that so-called “small plates” are actually perfectly portioned. And I often think the flavors in appetizers are more creative and exciting than many entree choices.
- Make lunch dates instead of dinner dates. Restaurants often have less expensive and lighter options at lunch.
- Keep your eye out for specials. Lots of restaurants have specials on certain nights of the week. Whether it is half priced bottles of wine, or entree specials, ask about them and make sure to take advantage.
- Do not save up your calorie dollars in order to splurge at the restaurant. We have all heard this before, but it is the number one mistake you can make. If your stomach is already growling before you leave, have a snack so you can choose your meal with a clear head, not with your growling stomach.
- Be prepared. Somehow this tip makes it into all my tips in one way or another. Look at the restaurant’s menu online and plan what you will order according to what works for your budget and nutritional needs. If there is no menu online, do some research on the type of cuisine and what “safe” choices are. You may be surprised!
- Order with leftovers in mind by choosing an entree that keeps well. Pastas and stirfrys keep better than burgers, sandwiches or salads. When choosing an entree, if you are planning on taking half home (which is always a good idea calorie-wise), make sure it is a dish that you will enjoy the next day. Otherwise you will just wind up throwing it out, which means you are also throwing money down the drain.
- Use online resources. I discovered Restaurant.com where you can purchase gift cards for restaurants across the country at a discounted rate. You just enter in your city, or your zip code and a list of participating restaurants appears. This is a great way to discover new restaurants in your area that you may have been hesitant to try. They sell a bunch of $25 gift cards for only $10, $50 cards for $20, and $75 cards for $30. There is usually minimum purchase of $35 at the restaurant, but the savings are still significant. And there’s no waiting for the gift certificates to ship or worrying about them getting lost in the mail – just pay and print them right from your computer.
Hope these tips help you the next time you are planning a night out with friends!