Dining out on Atkins
Eating out on the Atkins diet is really quite simple. Unlike other diets, in which you need to count points or figure out portion sizes, Atkins allows you to eat unlimited quantities of items that are “free” on the diet plan. The first time you dine out may be a little intimidating, but once you are familiar with all the delicious foods that you can eat on the diet, it is really easy to choose delicious meals that won’t make you fall off the diet wagon.
Breakfast is an easy meal to eat out in a restaurant. Eggs are one of your best friends when you are on the Atkins diet. You can have them fried, scrambled, boiled or poached. Or have an omelet and don’t hesitate to load it up with vegetables and cheese. While cheese is not unlimited, the amount that is included, even in an overloaded omelet, will not have any adverse effect on your diet. What you won’t be having are pancakes, waffles and French toast. You can feel free to indulge in a few slices of bacon or breakfast sausage. In spite of what you may think, you are not encouraged to eat large portions of bacon or loads of butter. Just the fact that you can have a couple crispy slices is a wonderful indulgence.
Once you are past the early stages of the diet, having a slice of whole wheat toast with your breakfast won’t be harmful. Eventually, even a small serving of home fries is possible, but in the early days these are off limits. If you like lighter items, yogurt and berries are acceptable on the diet, but have a small serving of yogurt, not a supersized one.
When you are on the Atkins diet, Caesar salads are a great option for lunch as long as you skip the croutons. Feel free to go with chicken, shrimp or even a burger on your salad. One thing that you will note with this diet is that you are never going to be hungry. You can never run out of points; there are free foods that you can have whenever you feel the need for something to munch on. You can also indulge in a Cobb salad—just go very light on the avocado. Most salads work well on Atkins. Feel free to have blue cheese or ranch dressing if you like creamy dressing. The one thing you need to look out for is hidden corn syrup, which has found its way into many salad dressings. Low-fat usually means higher sugar, so if in doubt go with a simple dressing.
Dinner out in a restaurant on Atkins is simple—really it is! You can have most any protein, so feel free to choose steak, veal, lamb, pork or chicken. Most any fish is also great. Start with a salad and you are right on target. You can also indulge in a shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped scallops or even fried calamari. Just watch out for the coating, which is loaded with carbs, so you don’t want to go crazy. When it comes to sides, avoid starchy veggies and load up on choices like broccoli and green beans. Some restaurants have added the option of mashed cauliflower, which is a great substitute for mashed potatoes.
Dessert will be off limits in the early days, unless the restaurant offers fresh fruit or a cheese plate. As you get into maintenance, you will be able to add a limited number of carbs into your diet, and if you want to indulge a little, share a dessert or have a bite or two. There is no need to deny yourself and there will be no damage done. Atkins is a diet that allows you to lose weight easily, and it is not hard to dine out in a restaurant while sticking to your diet. Atkins is more of a way of life than a diet. Once you become aware of all the hidden traps, you will be able to enjoy food again without ever feeling hungry.