The grilled shrimp and island rice meal at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar is under 550 calories. / Photos
Danson believes in eating well when dining out.
“While you’re at the restaurant, you don’t want to think of a diet,” the 52-year-old says. “You can think about it when you get home.”
What’s the point if you can’t enjoy it?
It’s a question Kristina Moore, a registered dietitian at Eisenhower Medical Center, hears a lot. She counters it with a question of her own: After a caloric binge, how do you feel afterward?
“To me, there’s more guilt. You’ve been working hard (at a diet) all week, and you walk away thinking, ‘Why did I do that?’”
Moore met with Danson, Deborah Reef and her two sons, Josh and Noah, to show them that it’s possible to eat well when away from home.
Reef, 53, has worked hard to break her family’s fast-food habit the last three months as part of The Desert Sun’s Healthy Family Project.
She’s happy to report they’re eating dinner at home these days. The refrigerator is full of low-calorie snacks for between meals, too.
But the reality is that working parents like Reef can’t always prepare three squares daily.
Moore wanted to give them some lessons in how to eat right and put them to the test at a local restaurant.
Tips for diners
It is possible to make healthy choices when dining out with family and friends. It just requires careful consideration, Moore says.
Start with being deliberate in choice of restaurant. Do research on how a place prepares food and get familiar with the menu in advance to see if there are appropriate options available.
“Everything’s online now,” she says. “Check it out.”
Moore, a certified diabetes coordinator, also forbids patients from saving up their calories when they have fancy dinner plans. Going in on an empty stomach leads to overeating.
“No skipping breakfast or lunch so I can get the grande,” she says.
Moore offered the following practical advice:
Drink up. Drink a minimum of 8 ounces of fluid — preferably water — before ordering to curb hunger and avoid super-sizing things.