So it turns out that a side effect of eating really good food - and by that I mean real actual food that is unadulterated - is that what passes for many as a good meal out is rather disgusting. Since we are on vacation, and have been running about as tourists in our own backyard, we have been having lunch and dinner out. Our tummies were in an uproar the first two days especially (coincidence that we were in the land of biscuits, gravy, and fried, fried and more fried?), but these last two I've been really focusing on my menu choices and have been feeling much better. Less is more on the menu I think, and it is shocking how much restaurants seem to feel that more is more. My first chicken salad was gross - the dressing was super sugary and the lettuce was limp. My first night of shrimp was also gross - tasted like a whole packet of Lipton soup mix was on them. The next day was better, but still too much food, and a weak too light salad with "veggies" such as cucumber and tomato. Hmmmm - that's a regular salad. When you advertise veggies, I think you mean more. It's amazing what a difference the food makes. Today, we ate at the Museum of Natural History and it was the best chicken I've had so far (and I may have had chicken at most of my meals). They use real food, and make an attempt to use local and organic when possible. I am feeling better already with a day's worth of real food in my body.
I've also noticed that the kids menu choices are all things that I'm OK with the kids eating every once in a while, but certainly not every day. When deciding what to order, we've been editing our discussion of the menus a bit, seeking good kids options in the appetizers, and finding meals we can eat that they can have some of too. I'm generally pretending that there is no grilled cheese or pizza anywhere. Our waiters are getting used to me asking to "replace the F-R-I-E-S with some kind of veggie or fruit please". I've found it interesting that since our kids usually eat so well, we are able to use food as a drug. Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I have used sugar in the last few days to pump up their energy and get a bit more exploring out of them. But honestly, if they usually ate that kind of thing it wouldn't work! Using a sugar high to hike up a big hill - I think it's a valid choice.
Of course the major thing about eating out is the portion sizes. Who the hell eats all that? I've had two dinners where I ordered an appetizer as my meal, and one was way too big for dinner and the other was just about right. The meals themselves are enough for several people. The 1/4 chicken and two sides I had for lunch today got split between me and the kids and there were leftovers. Last night, we had the kids split a kids meal, and split a serving of yogurt and fruit between them. They ate a lot, but still didn't finish it all. I'm finding that when I order a salad with chicken on/in it, there is more chicken than a portion size - way more. Maybe you all already knew all this, but we eat out so rarely that this is all hitting me at once. I can't imagine that I could avoid putting on pound after pound if we continued on this way. It's clear to me where much of our obesity problem is being created.