Food Choices

I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.
--Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
When I'm eating at home, making healthy choices is fairly easy, given that we stock our fridge and cupboards with good foods and tasty treats that don't sabotage our daily diet (and forever) diet.

However, eating out does pose special problems. How foods are prepared can be unknown, so it's important to make the best possible choices while still enjoying the dining out experience.

Yesterday, we were on our way home from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and, starving, we needed to stop for dinner. Jerry, my husband, wanted to go to a Chinese buffet, but I was too hungry to avoid the myriad temptations that all-you-can-eat Chinese food offers, so I begged off. He really wanted to go, but respected my wishes (Thank you, sweetie! I owe you one!), and we went to Cracker Barrel instead. I'm not overly fond of Southern cooking, but we had a gift card (from last Christmas, yet!), and I felt that we would both be able to handle a regular sit-down restaurant better than a buffet--and we were starved and Cracker Barrel was just a few hundred feet away.

I was pleasantly surprised by their menu choices; they offered a low carb menu, featuring grilled spicy catfish and lemon pepper rainbow trout. I ordered the catfish, and Jerry ordered the trout (and we split our choices). For my sides, I ordered the side salad (no dressing, which I don't like anyway), carrots, and green beans, and Jerry ordered Lima beans (which I never cook at home because I can't stand them), green beans, and carrots. The meal came with corn bread muffins and biscuits. (Instead of a carb side, I ate 1/2 of my muffin and a few bites of the biscuit.)

I ate everything on my plate--I was just too hungry; it was all very delicious, and I enjoyed every bite. However, it was a limited amount of food, no chowing down at a buffet trough.

And according to my PointsPlus calculations, I ate only three points over for the day.

For those of us who have food issues, making good (albeit not perfect) food choices can be tricky, entailing a conscious decision-making process, always balancing junk and high-fat foods that taste good and good foods that are good for you.

I knew that yesterday was not the day to eat totally off my program; this wasn't a special occasion or a special restaurant. This was just an ordinary day in which we were away from home and just needed a decent meal.

Did I eat a perfectly optimal diet?

Probably not. Had I eaten "perfectly," I would have avoided the corn bread and biscuit bites, and eaten only half my fish. But I'm not a "perfect" person (nor would I want to be--people like that are sooooo annoying).

Instead, I chose to compromise by enjoying this meal by cutting out my night snack. By the time my dinner hit my stomach, I was full and was able to get through the rest of the evening with just a mug of hot decaf coffee.

My discovery: enjoy eating out, but try to make good choices without being overly hard on myself.

It's what one does 80% of the time that makes the difference between success and failure and not to sweat that 20%.



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