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Restaurants

Healthy Tips For Dining Out

There are several reasons for dining out at a restaurant. Whether it’s a new hot spot you’ve had your eye on, for a social gathering, or simply a much-needed break from the kitchen, you deserve a nice night out. And while it is great to treat yourself, it does not mean you have to abandon your diet completely.

Despite hidden calories and large portions, there are ways to create a delicious and healthy restaurant dining experience.

Healthier Choices

  • Just say no to appetizers, which are usually loaded with unnecessary calories. If you want to start with an appetizer, a green salad with dressing on the side is a better option.
  • To prevent overeating, you should aim to fill half of your plate with fruit and/or vegetables (and no, potatoes do not count), and the other half with lean protein and whole grains.
  • Skip the sodium-laden soups. Instead, go for a salad, which offers less sodium and more potassium-rich veggies.
  • Restaurant portions are notorious for being oversized, so, if you can, order a lunch portion, box up half of your meal for later, or split an entrée with a friend.
  • As tempting as they may be, bypass the complimentary bread or chips. These fillers will just stuff you with unnecessary and empty calories and carbs.

Salads

  • Choose Darker Greens – Darker greens have more nutrients per serving than the popular romaine or iceberg lettuce.
  • Pick A Good Protein – Good protein choices include egg whites, egg slices, grilled tofu, tuna, beans, chicken, and seafood.
  • Cut The Cheese – You really don’t need the cheese, do you? Skip the excess calories, saturated fat, and sodium that cheese provides.
  • Smart Toppings – Instead of adding crunch from oily, refined flour (crispy wontons, croutons) and salty sodium bombs (olives, bacon), add crisp veggies and fruit to add more texture and flavor. Load up on nutrient-dense toppings such as broccoli, carrots, chickpeas, black beans, edamame, roasted peppers blueberries, mango, or strawberries.
  • Dress Better – It’s always wise to get the dressing on the side so that you can control how much or how little dressing you use. You may even be able to create your our dressing using oil and vinegar.

Sandwiches

  • Whole Wheat > White Bread – Always a better choice as it provides more nutrients. And please note that “multigrain” may mean more white flour than whole wheat.
  • Avoid Wraps – Unless they are whole grain, skip the wraps (they can have up to as many calories as white bread). Or try a lettuce wrap. You can drop refined grains for whole food. And if you’re feeling adventurous, turn your sandwich into a salad.
  • Craving a sandwich? Opt for a half sandwich, half salad combo. That way, you can get your sandwich fix while taking in more vegetables, too.
  • Smart Sides – When it comes to side dishes, opt for fresh fruit or steamed veggies over chips or bread.

Coffee

  • Choose Nonfat Milk – If you don’t particularly like nonfat, take baby steps and do half nonfat, half 2% milk.
  • Pros & Cons Of Non-Dairy Milk – Soy milk provides around 8g of protein per cup, but depending on the brand, they may have added sugar. Almond milk may have less sugar, but also less protein. Skip the coconut milk as it is low in protein and high in saturated fat.
  • Skip The Whipped Cream – Save yourself from excess calories and saturated fat.
  • Skip The Syrup – Sugar-free syrups may be made with unsafe sweeteners, but if you must, ask for a single pump of regular syrup.
  • Order Brewed Coffee and make your own modifications (one packet of sugar adds about 20 calories.

How do you stay healthy when you dine out? Share your tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

At the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli, we serve a variety of signature sandwiches and salads made to order. Visit us in store, online or have our food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS. We also provide catering for business lunches, special events and parties. Call 909-596-5225 to learn more!

Avoid These Restaurant Dining Faux Pas

Dining out at a restaurant should be a fun and pleasant experience, but we all know that is not always the case. For the consideration of your party, other diners, and the restaurant staff themselves, please avoid doing these things in a restaurant.

X      Don’t keep your phone ringer on.

We may all be guilty of using our phone during a meal, however, we should refrain from this, especially when dining with company. Ringers should be silenced and phones should be put away. And this rule is not only limited to dining guests – the wait staff and back-of-the-house employees should refrain from check their phones and taking calls.

X      Don’t sit down at a big table well before the rest of the group arrives.

If you have a big party, and you know your friends are running late, don’t sit at the table early. Their inconsideration to you should not spill over onto you. Instead, let the restaurant utilize the tables while you wait for your guests at the bar or in the waiting area. The wait staff will appreciate you allowing them to serve more tables, rather than lingering at your table alone.

     Don’t block the server’s path.

Blocking a busy pathway is not only a nuisance to diners and staff, but it can pose a potential hazard and safety issue. It is likely that servers are walking back and forth with plates of hot food and drinks and any roadblock can slow them down and possibly trip them up.

X      Don’t let the kids run wild.

With that said, please don’t let your kids run wild. If the kids are running around, they can get hurt or be in the way of others. We understand that kids need to eat to, but please be mindful of other diners and the workers.

X      Don’t stray too far from the menu.

Slight modifications and special requests are to be expected, and are usually easily accommodated. However, don’t go too crazy as the chef has put much thought and consideration into the menu. If you have serious allergies to common foods or ingredients, be sure to call head to ensure that they can safely cater to your food allergies.

X      As the host, don’t finish first.

If you are hosting the dinner and have gathered your group of friends at a restaurant, make sure to pace yourself so that you end up being the last one to finish each course. This behavior has somewhat disappeared over the time, but it is a way to signal the wait staff that they can collect everyone’s plate once the last person finishes.

X      Don’t reach across the table.

It’s great to share food, but there’s a right and wrong way to do it. Instead of reaching across and sticking your fork in the other person’s food, politely ask them to put a bit on a bread plate and pass the plate along.

X      Don’t ask to split the bill several ways after you’ve gotten the check

If you know you would like to split the bill between your guests, check with your server beforehand to see what the best approach would be. If they know ahead of time, they can keep orders separate and organized. Or remind your guests to bring enough cash to chip in ahead of time.

X      Don’t tip according to a comped price.

When it comes to tipping, whether you get something comped because you know the right people, or you purchase a great discounted deal, you should always tip on the full price.

X      Don’t show up right before the kitchen closes.

Although a restaurant is technically still open, you should still be considerate. It is considered poor taste to stroll in minutes before a restaurant is closing. If it seems like they are already in closing mode, you may want to take that as a cue to move on.

What other restaurant faux pas can you think of? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli for breakfast or lunch – weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm. Enjoy yummy sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and more! Stop in, order online, or get your food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.

Restaurant Tips For Dining Alone

Sure, it’s great to grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant with a friend or loved ones, but sometimes it’s good to go solo. Dining out alone may seem uncomfortable or intimidating, but it can be quite exhilarating and fun.

Enjoying a meal alone can give you some much needed solitude and allow you time to be alone with your thoughts and ideas. Instead of focusing on small talk and entertaining a guest, you can focus on your meal and surroundings.

If the thought of dining solo in a restaurant or café frightens you, here are some tips on how to ease yourself into feeling comfortable dining alone.

Pick The Meal
If it is your first time dining out alone and you’re a bit wary, you may want to opt for lunch instead of dinner. That way there will be less of a crowd and likely less waiting time.

You may want to plan around a potential lunch rush, or even opt for brunch hours or the post-lunch/pre-dinner window.

If your nerves are really getting the best of you, scope out the restaurant crowd by ordering take out, and then commit to a sit down meal for your next visit.

Select The Restaurant
For solo dining, you may want to skip the crowded date-night hot spots and big, loud restaurants in the evening. Aim for a quieter, more relaxed spot like a laidback café or opt for a restaurant with a bar. You are less likely to feel rushed to give up your spot, and if you take a seat at the bar, you can chat with the bartender if you feel so inclined.

What To Wear
Wear what makes you feel good, whether it be your Sunday’s best or a casual outfit (but be mindful of possible restaurant dress codes). If you’re nervous about dining out alone, feeling comfortable and confident may help.

Where to Sit
When the hostess knows it’s a party of one, they will likely guide you to a suitable table, but some places allow you to choose.

If you’ve found a café or restaurant with a bar, pull up a stool – it’ll be less conspicuous that you’ve ventured out alone. You may even be able to strike up a conversation with other lone diners or the bartender if you’d like.

If you like to meet new people, community tables can be another great way to get a conversation going. These are not always single diners, but being able to sit face to face with others may be better to facilitate small talk.

What To Bring
If you’re striking out at striking a conversation, and people-watching gets old, you may want to have a backup plan. Reading is a great way to pass time. A paperback, Kindle, iPad or even your phone are great companions for a solo dinner.

Placing Your Order
Since you are essentially taking yourself on a date, go ahead and treat yourself. Order something you wouldn’t normally splurge on, or try a few items that caught your eye. Without the normal distractions, you can practice mindful eating, paying careful attention to each bite and really savoring your meal.

Share your own solo dining experiences and tips with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet meal alone or want to enjoy the company of friends, you can do so at the Brick! We’ve got plenty of seats in our dining area as well as on our pet-friendly patio. Visit us weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.

Dining In Restaurants With Kids

Going out to a restaurant with young children is not always an easy task. Kids are unpredictable, and in a restaurant setting, you really never know what will happen. For the more upscale restaurants, here are some helpful tips for restaurant dining with kids.

Inform The Restaurant
Call ahead to make a reservation and let the staff know you will be bringing a baby or young child. They may not have high chairs or room for a stroller so that would be beneficial to know beforehand. You may also want to request a larger table on an end so that your child cannot reach everything and wreak havoc.

Dine During Off-Hours
If you can, eat earlier. The restaurant will likely be less crowded, or populated with other families. However, if you must dine during peak hours, it might help. The restaurant may be packed, and likely very noisy, possibly drowning out your child’s screams or songs.

Get Food ASAP
It is in your best interest to order your child’s food as soon as you are seated. If not, be sure to bring snacks and take those out as soon as you get your table.

New Foods Are Your Friends
Try a variety of dishes and let your child try something new (if they haven’t moved onto the “picky eater” stage yet). You might think you know what your kid likes, but you could be surprised.

Talk A Walk
When your child starts to get fussy, take a walk outside or explore the restaurant. A change of scenery or some movement should help to calm him or her down. But please, stay out of the way of the servers.

Know When To Say When
Toys, books, or iPads could be your secret weapon, but be sure to use them when it is absolutely necessary, rather than whipping them out immediately. Also, if you’re eyeing dessert or an after-dinner drink, but your child is about ready to explode, it will probably be better to get the check and go.

Have any other tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest!

The Brick Your Neighborhood Deli fosters a family-friendly environment, with cozy seating both indoors and outdoors. Enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and outlets to charge your devices. You can even bring your furry friends and enjoy our outdoor patio dining area. Visit us for breakfast or lunch, weekdays from 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00am-4:30pm.