The following question is one that I am asked often:
“How can I avoid alcohol when dining out, whether for business or pleasure?”
It is a good question to ask, because gram for gram, alcohol is as calorie dense as a fat gram. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig customers know that a glass of wine is endearingly referred to as “two fats”, or two fat exchanges. It can be tough to stick to that plan when dining out, as one glass inevitably leads to two, which can often lead to lack of good judgment in food choices.
Therefore, the most successful dieters avoid alcohol while they are focused on their goal, and it’s easier to do this than you think! We’ll show you how.
* For a lunch date or business lunch where everyone is expected to have a drink, order a virgin bloody mary, no salt. Count it as a veg serving!
* For a cocktail party or pre-dinner drink with friends, order a club soda, splash of cranberry, squeeze of lime. It looks like a popular drink, called a cape cod, and no one but you and the bartender will know it is alcohol free.
* For dinner itself, as a substitute for wine, ask your server for a new product called “dry soda”. This is a food-friendly soda with negligible calories, invented by a woman here in the Pacific Northwest. Faced with the problem of not being able to drink wine with dinner while pregnant, she designed a beverage that enhances food, like wine does, but without the alcohol or calories. With flavors like kumquat, rhubarb (my favorite!), lemongrass and lavender. Any cuisine can find a dry soda to compliment their wine list.
*Bring a bottle of non-alcoholic wine and pay a corkage fee. More and more, people are bringing in their own wine to restaurants, so don’t hesitate to do so. The corkage fee can range from zero to twenty-five dollars, but it’s worth it to sip decent wine in great crystal and not feel like you are being left out of the conviviality of the meal. A great non-alcoholic (n/a) wine to look for is Inglenook’s Cabernet Sauvignon. As well, many new flavored waters are packaging in wine-looking bottles. Bring what you want to drink, and enjoy!
*Reward yourself later, with a cup of your favorite hot tea or fat-free hot chocolate. Patting yourself on the back for a good decision is one of the best ways to make sure you continue to do so.