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The Appetizer Problem

When you’re not cooking, sticking to your number is tough. There are lots of little tips and tricks for eating out that you pick up along the way – stay away from creamy sauces, order vegetables without butter, the list goes on (and I’ll share them – soon!) For now I’ll keep the conversation to my least favorite part of dinner: the appetizer.

As if I need something to whet my appetite.

Appetizers are always scary because you’re eating and chatting, not paying attention to how much you eat. Unfortunately, appetizers are often the highest-calorie foods around: fatty meats like sausage and prosciutto, cheeses (let’s face it, they’re all dangerous), chips, dips…unless you have a veggie-loving host, odds are you’re looking at a display of anywhere from 50 to 200-calorie mouthfuls. Add that to the glass of wine in your hand, and you’ve hit your daily calorie limit and it’s not even 6 o’clock. So here’s my advice:

1. Eat what you have to. Did your friend spend hours slaving over the bruschetta? Do you just HAVE to try Sally’s cheese dip? Accept it, take a bite, and sing their praises – and, most important of all, enjoy them!

2. Sip your wine slowly. Avoid the compulsory refill – or even having to say no to one – by keeping your glass full longer.

3. Pace yourself. It’s okay to partake, but go slowly and make good choices. Put a few of the lower-calorie options on a plate. Eat them as slowly as you can bear, and then make sure you wait at least five minutes before reaching for replacements.

On these occasions, you can almost always expect to go over. Going out to eat is fun, and you shouldn’t let counting get in the way of enjoying a meal with your friends. If you moderate what you’re eating and choose foods that are less calorie-dense, you can feel good about getting back into your routine the next day.

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